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Andrew's story

Andrew's story

In September 2021, Andrew faced the challenge of hand cycling 1000 miles around Scotland in 10 days. 

What made you decide to fundraise for Place2Be?

"Each year, I take on a challenge. Since COVID, smaller charities have been severely underfinanced without large fundraisers like London Marathon and Great North Run. This is why when looking for charities to support, I look to smaller charities that I may be able to relate to or have been moved by through an interview etc.

I was considering mental health and came across Place2Be, which deals with children's and young people's mental health. This is extremely important as it shapes your future."

Tell us about the fundraising challenge you have taken on.

"The challenge is to hand cycle 1000 miles in 10 days around the heart of Scotland. Hand cycling is considered challenging at the best of times. I make it slightly harder because I have two short arms, no elbows and only one leg. Virtually no bone in my body is normal!"

Andrew wearing a Place2Be fundraiser top

Why do you think supporting young people's mental health is important?

"The youth of today have so many distractions in the form of social media, the internet and mobile phones. However, in the wrong hands, these can become tools to abuse and victimise children, seriously impacting their mental health.

Unfortunately, for children to remain young and have a childhood, they need support, especially when vulnerable."

If mental health support is provided within a school environment, it's hopefully a place where children feel safe and is on the frontline. The sooner a child receives help, the better.

Is there any advice you might give a young person struggling with their mental health?

"Advice is always tricky, especially general advice, as everyone is individual and children's and young people's minds are constantly developing.

You need to develop a solid mental persona and find some good friends, even if it's just one, who you can talk to. It's crucial to ensure the inward pressure doesn't build.

Also, switching off social media and getting involved in physical exercise where you can channel those anxieties.

Importantly, seek help when you need it. A counsellor is there to help, however small the problem is. There's no shame in finding support in others."

What advice would you give anyone taking on a challenge like this, and do you have any fundraising tips?

"Challenges are always difficult, in that the aim is to push yourself - if it's easy, people won't sponsor you.

It's important to train, eat healthier and target people in sponsoring via social media, newspapers, and if you're really lucky, a celebrity or TV endorsement."

Does Andrew's story inspire you?

Supporters like Andrew help make a real difference to children's and young people's mental health. If you're feeling inspired by his story and would like to find out how you can follow in his footsteps and support Place2Be, learn more about how you can take part in an event.

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