Pilot project aims to improve people’s mental health through running

The 16-week Pace of Mind initiative is currently supporting a group of 20 people in the Lakenham and

The 16-week Pace of Mind initiative is currently supporting a group of 20 people in the Lakenham and Tuckswood areas of the city. Photo: Rik Martin Community Action Norfolk - Credit: Archant

A mental health project being piloted in Norwich is making great strides in improving people's wellbeing through running.

The 16-week Pace of Mind initiative is currently supporting a group of 20 people in the Lakenham and

The 16-week Pace of Mind initiative is currently supporting a group of 20 people in the Lakenham and Tuckswood areas of the city. Photo: Rik Martin Community Action Norfolk - Credit: Archant

The 16-week Pace of Mind initiative is currently supporting a group of 20 people in the Lakenham and Tuckswood areas of the city.

As well as helping them train for a 10km race, the project aims to improve their physical and mental health.

It is aimed at people living in both areas who experience 'mild to moderate' mental health issues, and is open to runners of all abilities.

Sarah, who volunteers with the group, said: 'People use it to deal with stress, and anxiety, and all sorts of different issues. I think also from a social perspective, it pushes them out of their comfort zones a bit, in a good way, to come out and be social and do something that they wouldn't ordinarily do with their life.'


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She said runners in the group are already seeing an improvement in their mental health.

Pace of Mind is funded by Active Norfolk through the Energise Lakenham Sport for Change project, and delivered locally by Norwich MIND.

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Those taking part are supported by experienced coaches, including double Olympian Paul Evans.

A range of nutritionists and mental health support workers are also involved.

After the run, the group meets for a coffee to give runners a chance to cool down and continue their conversations.

Run leader Dudley Garner said: 'There is a community developing amongst the people where they seem to feel quite open to talk about their issues as well as the day to day goings on that maybe they wouldn't feel comfortable talking about at another running group.'

The group meet Tuesday mornings and Thursday evenings at a park in Lakenham to train for the Run Norwich 10k in August.

Jessica, who runs with the group, said: 'The group has been very beneficial for me. There are a lot of runners here but also a lot of volunteers who run with you, so there's always someone there who understands.'

For more information on the Pace of Mind project, contact Ellen Vanlint on 01603 731 566 or visit www.norwichmind.org.uk/paceofmind

Are you organising a community event? Email luke.powell'archant.co.uk

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