What an incredible weekend for World Mental Health Day. With organisations and clubs from over fifteen different locations up and down the country taking part in the 5/5/5 challenge, created by our very own Samantha Rutt to raise funds for Blackdog Outdoors and help to tackle the stigma surrounding mental health. We even had participants in California taking part…shout out across the pond to Kristen from SUP Connect.
Samantha is currently paddling around the UK coastline to raise funds for Blackdog Outdoors and to raise awareness and help to end the stigma surrounding Complex/Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Her energy and enthusiasm for the water is deeply infectious and with the help of her contacts up and down the country she managed to pull together an incredible event for us at the weekend.
Here’s what Samantha had to say about the weekend.
“I’m absolutely blown away by today and all the clubs and people involved…I’ve really loved seeing all the pictures….and I really felt a part of something and I hope you all did to…I’m still counting up the money raised for Black Dog Outdoors but we are talking hundreds of pounds and it’s still coming in!!…they are an amazing charity who give their time for free to get people out in nature and by you all getting out doing what you love you’re helping support people who might not have access to our wonderful sport. I have been truly humbled by the kindness of everyone, it’s the one thing we need so much more of…and you know what made my heart even happier?….sitting back and watching complete strangers open and talk about mental health and how they have personally experienced it…from anxiety to depression, from how Covid has played a big part, how people have overcome great personal challenges and how others are battling to overcome theirs…all chatting, with no stigma…no judgment, just chatting the same way we would about our physical heath…absolutely brilliant to see and this is what it’s all about…so it’s a huge thank you from me for taking part and helping raise awareness for this great cause! and thank you SupMag for joining us on the water”
The event was open to all, with the premise that participants paddle 5km on the water, donate £5 to BDO and bring 5 friends with them. We need to extend a huge thankyou to all of our contacts across the country, pulling in some big support from some amazing venues who were more than happy to provide facilities and equipment for people to take part. A great testament to the love and camaraderie that exists within the outdoor community. Some special mentions must go to our friends at:
And an extra shout to our resident paddlesport officer Lynne Dale. If you’re looking to get on the water and want an amazing teacher to help you get out there, Lynne is a champion and you couldn’t ask for a better instructor to get you out there – which is exactly why she is our resident water sport expert here at Blackdog.
Stand Up Paddle boarding is the growing sport of taking to the water with a long, semi rigid board, a little like a surf board, that has enough stability for you to be able to stand up and paddle around with relative ease. It’s an incredibly relaxing way to explore the water and has increased hugely in popularity over the last few years. Owing to it’s easy nature and accessibility, which requires very little fitness and skill, you can very quickly be gliding across the water into areas that you may never have explored before.
Sarah Wilson recently started Stand Up Paddle boarding (SUP) with her mum and they both took to Ellerton Water this weekend with the amazing SUP Active Yorkshire. Here’s what Sarah had to say:
“My Mum and I fell hook, line and sinker for paddle boarding recently – more hooked and less sinking, thankfully. We wanted to take part in raising awareness for Blackdog Outdoors, PSTD and general mental health. We jumped on some boards (metaphorically speaking) at Ellerton Park North Yorkshire, a beautiful large lake full of colour and depth. Loaning the kit from SUP Active Yorkshire, Danny Godridge made us feel right at home and ready to walk on water. 5km was the goal, a dry bag stuffed with treats and a Mother-Daughter combo that likes to throw our all into anything. It was a challenging day for my mum who lives with a brain injury, experiencing new, choppy conditions on the water and getting out of her comfort zone. With a fear of deep water myself, using a more race style board was ‘Interesting’ and there were a few wobbles in every sense of the word, but soon the gentle sound of splashing water, the mesmerising swirls from the paddle and laughter in the distance calmed the senses and was uplifting, a perfect soundtrack for the day with plenty of people paddling away. Like any typical day when trying to manage any mental health hurdles, there were ups and downs, however these ones more liberating and leaving you with a sense of accomplishment. From sunshine to showers, waves and wind, what a day was had that was exhilarating”
We have previously run Blackdog events with the help of the folks over at SUP Active Yorkshire and we can’t say kinder words about them, the positivity and enthusiasm from Danny and the team is heart-warming.
Over at IslandSUP in Wales it was fancy dress all round as people paddled In all sorts of hilarious costumes… No, that’s not Batman…it’s Banana Girl!! Island SUP are a fantastic bunch based at Jackson’s Bay, Barry Island and the Barry Community Water Activity Centre. They offer various levels of coaching and guidance: if you’re based in Wales get in touch and check them out…superhero suit optional.
We also had activities taking place in various other venues, we’ve done our best to include as many of our supporters and contributors as possible but the response to the event has been so fantastic we can barely keep up. Somewhere in the region of around £1500 has been raised for our mission. As a non-profit charity, every penny we raise goes directly back into providing FREE outdoor activities for those finding that their mental health acts as a barrier to these activities. If you feel inspired by this weekend’s events and want to help us continue our work, here’s our donate link.
And once again a huge thankyou to all who took part this weekend:
Water Skills Academy
Sup and Pups
The Real Blue Chip Super Club
What’s Up Cambridge and Suffolk
Sup Mag UK
Heron and Hush
The work we do together helps to end the stigma surrounding mental health, creating healthy and active conversation and providing people with spaces where they feel they can be themselves and express themselves in an environment that is consistently welcoming.
If you work in the outdoor industry or you’d like to fundraise and support our mission and feel you could contribute to our events in a professional way, please contact our Operations Manager, John Gale at firstname.lastname@example.org