Tom’s Coast to Coast challenge

Our latest blog comes from Tom Emmott who recently completed the Kathmandu Coast to Coast challenge in New Zealand, in memory of his dad, David. He raised an amazing £5,000 for us in the process!

What’s the Coast to Coast challenge and why did you want to do it?

Since losing our Dad I wanted to do something to show how proud I was of him and of everything he achieved, even whilst struggling with his mental health. When I first thought of doing the Kathmandu Coast to Coast challenge, I thought it would be way out of my depth to even consider entering a race like that. It’s 243km from the west to the east coast of New Zealand’s south island – a massive physical challenge with 140km of cycling, 70km of kayaking and over 30km of mountain running. But being brought up to embrace adventure, and after quite a bit of thought, I decided it was the perfect challenge and the perfect way to pay tribute to Dad.

How was it preparing for the race?

Having never done any road cycling or kayaking there was a lot to learn with only about seven months from starting training until the race. Training sessions went well and it soon became a way of life. I was out training four or five times a week and I was totally focused and determined to do the best I could. The race day approached incredibly quickly and with all the gear ticked off the check list I was ready to go! I don’t think I’ve ever been as nervous and excited to complete something in all my life. With seven or eight months of training, it all came down to just two days – it was quite overwhelming.

How was the race itself?

The big day arrived and on the first day everything went great, I enjoyed the first cycle and the mountain run was amazing with some of the best views I’ve ever seen. I completed the first day in 6 hours and 31 minutes which I was pleased with. Day 2 was much tougher having to paddle for around 5 hours and navigate through some tricky rapids. Only the second cycle section back to the beach was left to complete this awesome race, which took another 2 hours but I made it, with a total time of 14 hours and 44 minutes. Family and friends were all there to cheer me across the finish line. My support crew on the day were fantastic; my Mum, Christine Emmott, and Lindsay Pawson especially – it wasn’t an easy job.

How did it feel to complete such a big challenge?

It was amazing! I’m so thankful to everyone who donated to The Cellar Trust – such a great cause, and it was breath taking to be able to raise £5,000. I feel it shows how well liked and popular my Dad was. If you’d like to raise money for the Cellar Trust and do something that challenges you I can honestly say it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve done and all the work was totally worth it. Plus, you know you’re helping people facing mental health challenges, and helping to make sure they get the help they need and deserve.

Tom Emmott

In memory of David Emmott

New ENRICH programme launched

Our blog this month is from Emily Clayton, Lead Peer Support Worker and ENRICH Coordinator, talking about a brilliant new service and research project we have launched in partnership with Bradford District Foundation Care Trust.

What is ENRICH?

The ENRICH research project aims to enhance service user’s experience of discharge from inpatient to community mental health care. It is part of a national programme of research and we are the first site to pilot this work in the North of England. It is also the first global research into peer support which uses randomised control sampling. This is important because it has the potential to influence best practice guidance.

Why are you so passionate about this new service?

I have my own experiences of inpatient admissions at Lynfield Mount hospital when I was 17 and 18. I was having a very difficult time and tried to end my life on several occasions.  I continued to have difficulties for several years and received support from various community teams.   There was no peer support available at that time and I feel that I would have really benefitted at that stage from being able to speak to and spend some time with people who had their own lived experiences and found their own ways of managing. I went on to study a degree in ‘Counselling and Psychology in Community Settings’ at Bradford College and then started working as a peer support worker at Haven at the Cellar Trust in 2016.  I really wanted to be able to use my own experiences of distress to support others and am now very proud to be one of the team leaders at Haven where we continue to offer peer support to people who are in crisis.

Why is peer support key and how will it work as part of ENRICH?

Being discharged from hospital can be a daunting experience for people for many reasons and can leave you feeling very isolated and alone.  The ENRICH peer support workers will work alongside people for 4 months following discharge from hospital.  The building of safe, trusting relationships based on shared lived experience is integral to peer support and we have seen through our work at Haven just how powerful this can be.  The ENRICH workers will spend time with people once a week for a period of 4 months, going to groups, for walks etc. in the local community.  I know from my own experience it can be very daunting going to a group for the first time.  Or if you’re struggling to get outside for a walk, having someone to meet you at your gate who you know understands and isn’t judging, someone to make that step alongside you can make all the difference.

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