La Vida Liverpool online magazine is embarking upon a 500 mile cycle around the coast of Wales in aid of the #Endthestigma campaign to set up a men’s mental health hub in North Liverpool. Magazine owner, Justin Hopper, and close friend John Biddle are hoping to raise £10,000 towards the important cause.
On 9th July 2021, the two friends will be setting off from Wallasey Village for an 8 day journey — stopping at Llandudno (60 miles), Aberdaron (70 miles), Barmouth (60 miles), Aberaeron (60 miles), St Davids (60 miles), Tenby (40 miles), Porthcawl (80 miles) and finally Bristol (70 miles). The 500 mile round trip will be an epic adventure and video updates will be provided along the way via La Vida Liverpool’s Facebook page.
The Crowdfunder for the sponsored cycle is off to a good start, as it aims to raise £10,000 for the #Endthestigma campaign. The mission of #Endthestigma is to raise £30,000 in order to create a community hub focused on tackling the major issue of mental health problems amongst males in the Liverpool region. The project will be based at Efik House below the existing wellbeing centre, Inner Guru, in Kirkdale, North Liverpool.
The centre will offer males support, advice, counselling, alcohol and drugs support groups, holistic therapies, workshops, courses, walks, coffee mornings, podcasts, sport and activities in order to improve mental health. The idea is to offer early intervention and ongoing human support to empower men and help prevent a wide variety of mental health problems, addictions and suicide.
With the NHS underfunded and overstretched due to the pandemic, mental health waiting lists can often be months. What this project aims to do is create a centre that bridges the gap and provides ongoing support to males in Merseyside via a number of different methods.
Justin Hopper said: “John and I are both fully aware of the impacts of mental health problems, particularly amongst males. A shocking 75% of suicides are male and only last year a good friend took his own life. We are both keen cyclists and I have a great reach through the magazine, so it’s logical for us to do this.”
He continued: “What Lewis Powell and the guys are doing with #Endthestigma to set up this men’s mental health hub is amazing — there has already been lots of fundraising so we thought we’d get involved too. It’s going to be an epic journey, averaging around 60 miles a day for 8 days straight, and I’m both excited and nervous.”
The sponsored cycle is open to partners and support from anyone and has already struck up a partnership with Grae Strummer and his new Not For Profit organization, New Brighton Pedal Power Progression. Grae’s project repairs and restores bikes for people, with the aim of encouraging people to cycle more and waste less.
Pedal Power Progression is based at the amazing Charlotte’s Brightside community hub — a New Brighton charity that has a social supermarket and a whole host of projects to serve the community and those in need. The partnership with the sponsored cycle will provide Justin with a more suitable bike for the journey and will look to include other sponsors, a convoy, stickers and get many more people and businesses involved.
Any donations to the Crowdfunder are greatly appreciated and anyone who donates a minimum of £100 will receive a special shout out in the video updates and on social media. Also, any business that donates a minimum of £100 will receive exposure through video updates, on social media and in other local media with post cycle media coverage.
Justin summarised: “The issue of mental health problems is an ever growing pandemic and we’re all in this together to not only raise awareness but to help each other and find solutions. For John and I there’s no better way to do this than to raise money via an epic bike ride! John has completed a long journey like this before but I haven’t, although I have been cycling a lot this past year, so hopefully we’ll both end up in Bristol successfully!”