Friday (14 July) 40 teams used pedal power to cycle from Prospects’ office in Taunton to the Houses of Parliament in London to raise over £300 for the mental health charity Mind.
‘Prospects to Parliament’ cycle ride took place at the top end of the High Street and featured two static exercise bikes where employees from local businesses (including Prospects) raced one another to cover the mileage distance between Prospects on the High Street to the Houses of Parliament.
The event was organised by people who are long term unemployed and have received support from Prospects. Prospects helps jobseekers find work as the main provider of the government’s Work Programme across the South West, and in partnership in London and Bristol. Prospects also provides the National Careers Service in the South West and Work Choice in Dorset.
Alongside the cycling event, 1610.org brought games and Bugfest brought exotic animals, including a snakes, scorpions, and tarantulas. There were also prizes and giveaways as well as a raffle and tombola throughout the day, with music provided by Tone FM.
A message board was placed near the cyclists where people could anonymously write comments and messages of encouragement for people suffering with a mental health illness. One of the comments included: "That was a tough cycle – but nothing compared to suffering with mental illness."
The total mileage cycled on the static bikes was 360 miles - which is the distance between Prospects in Taunton to the Senate in Paris, which surpassed the original intention of cycling from Prospects to Parliament in London.
A total of £310 was raised for Mind. The charity Mind work hard to promote good mental health, to encourage greater understanding of mental health issues, and to provide high quality support to users of mental health services.
Tim Curtis, Prospects Team Leader who helped to arrange the event said: “Here at Prospects we understand the importance that gaining valuable work and employment can have for an individual’s mental health and overall wellbeing.
“Being long-term unemployed can lead to a lack of confidence and feelings of worthlessness and ultimately depression, so many of our customers come to us already facing these mental health concerns. By helping jobseekers find work we are helping people to improve their quality of life as well as their home and family life and their place within the community.”
To find out more about Prospects work in Taunton and the South West visit www.gettingthesouthwestworking.co.uk.