Posts Tagged ‘fundraising’

Our Glasgow Firewalk

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Seonaid Mason, Supporter Care Fundraiser at SAMH, recaps on the success of our recent Firewalk event in Glasgow.

The 5th November 2014 is one that some of our supporters will certainly always ‘remember remember’ as they took part in SAMH’s first ever Firewalk.

This was an event that appealed to us as we were looking for a challenge that was a bit different, but one which people could take part in without having to dedicate too much time to training or preparing.  Not that many people can say that they have walked on fire! Firewalking also has a great link to mental health, as the challenge is all about increasing your confidence, self-esteem and breaking through limiting beliefs while transforming your fears into positive action.

The night began with our supporters arriving for their pre-Firewalk seminar.  Some of them were nervous, some of them were excited; some weren’t sure how they felt!  I was a bit of all three as we didn’t know what to expect – a two hour seminar was about to begin and none of us, including me, had any idea of what we were getting ourselves into!

Suffice to say, it was brilliant.  I can’t reveal the secrets of the seminar but by the end that quiet bunch of nervous individuals had turned into a rowdy ball of energy ready to take on the Firewalk!  Everyone was raring to go, full of positivity and fearlessness.

We left the seminar and made the short walk to St Enoch Square where the Fire Team had already lit the embers.  We turned the corner and I was taken aback.  At the very least I hoped for about 20-30 people ready to watch their friends and family members complete the Firewalk.  In reality, this crowd was so big that we had to fight to get through to the fire! There were people all around the 30 foot diameter barrier, all cheering and excited to see our Firewalkers take their first ‘Fire’ steps.

The walk itself went brilliantly, and the crowd loved it.  We cheered and clapped as each supporter stepped up, shouted their name and answered a resounding YES to  the question “ARE YOU READY?” before completing  their challenge.   Afterwards, we invited our supporters to join us for tea and cake, and celebrated all of the money  that had been raised for Scotland’s mental health.

All in all, it was an amazing, memorable night.  So amazing, in fact, that we’ve decided to do it all over again!  The 26th January 2015 is Blue Monday – apparently a  day noted for being particularly depressing.  We’ve decided to challenge this by making Blue Monday Red-Hot and holding a second Firewalk; this time in Edinburgh.  The venue and timings are still to be confirmed, however anyone interested can get in touch with or call 0141 530 1028 for more  information.  We’re hoping to make this even bigger, even better – and with a few surprises!

100 Half Marathons

Monday, October 13th, 2014

On Sunday 5th Ocotber I completed my 100th half marathon, finishing the Great Scottish Run in Glasgow in a time of 1 hour 39 minutes. It wasn’t my fastest time – in fact it was almost my slowest time – but I really enjoyed the race and was delighted to reach this landmark.

This week I have thought quite a bit about the various half marathons that have made up my 100. I ran my first one at Irvine Valley in 1990, a couple of months after taking up running. I had only started to get myself a bit fitter for refereeing football matches, having just sat the SFA referees’ exams. Soon I found that I enjoyed the running more than the refereeing, so joined the local running club, Troon Tortoises, and gave up refereeing. I’ve never looked back.

Joining a running club was one of the best decisions I ever made. I met some great people and thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie of the Tuesday and Thursday night training sessions. We pushed each other hard in these sessions, and very soon I started to see my times come down. I made some very close friends and would spend many weekends travelling round Scotland taking part in races. I’ve been a member of quite a few running clubs, reflecting the fact I have moved house fairly regularly. After leaving Troon I joined Central AC in Stirling, then moved to Strathearn Harriers, then on to Harmeny AC in Edinburgh, and I am currently a member of Portobello Running Club. I’ve made new friends at every one of those clubs.

Over the years I have run half marathons in some wonderful places, including the islands of Arran, Mull, Coll and Islay (where the post race refreshments were provided by the local distillery!) Inverness has always been one of my favourites: I’ve travelled to the Highland capital 17 times to run the half marathon, and had my second and third best times there. Glasgow is another favourite, which I’ve also run 17 times. My best time was at Ayr in 1996, where I finished in 1 hour 17 minutes. One of the most memorable was the Forfar Multi-terrain half marathon, particularly the quarter mile section of the course where we had to run through a waist-high, freezing river!

I feel incredibly privileged to have been able to run so many half marathons, in so many wonderful places, with such great people. For me, running has been the perfect way to unwind from the demands of work and other aspects of life. I hope to be able to run many more.

Ian sits on the SAMH board of trustees as Vice Chair. He is Chief Operating Officer of Lindsays Solictors, and non executive Chairman of Scottish Athletics.

Getting Active, whether you run a half marathon, or go for a short stroll around your local park can all make a difference to your mental health and wellbeing.

Common benefits of regular exercise include:

  • Improved mood
  • Reduced risk of depression
  • Protection against anxiety
  • Improved concentration and self-esteem

Find out more by visiting the Get Active pages on our website.

SAMH volunteer wins top award for ‘Mental Matters’ magazine

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Mental Matters’ is a Scottish based recovery magazine and was launched earlier this year. It was the ambition of student Holly McCormack to start-up a publication in Scotland dedicated to promoting key anti-stigma messages and providing a platform to share stories of recovery relating to all aspects of Mental Health.

Editor Holly McCormack, who also volunteers for SAMH, scooped the illustrious Student Journalist in memory of Anna Sargent for 2013 award. It was presented as part of the Mind Media Awards which are now in their 20th year on the 18th of November at the BFI Southbank, London. Radio 1 DJ, Scott Mills, presented the award to Holly on the night.

Currently there are four editions of the magazine available online with the last two containing features on fundraising ventures past and present for SAMH. It also takes a look at topical issues such as Mental Health First Aid, impact of social media within mental health and in the last edition reviewed some key performances from the Scottish Mental Health and Arts Festival.

The magazine looks at recovery in mental health from some debilitating conditions like OCD to coming through a period of depression. Student mental health is a key focus of the last edition with much more planned in the future.

Holly said: “The magazine was started as part of my Journalism degree at the University of the West of Scotland.

“Although there has been industry recognition of the magazine after the first four editions, I know that there is a long way to go in regards to developing the magazine and engaging with a larger audience across Scotland.

“I’ve just looked at student mental health but the next edition is going to focus on sport and mental health.

“Inspired by the ‘Get Active’ campaign set up by SAMH, it will take a look at both how exercise can benefit your mental health and also how the importance of those in the sporting profession talking about their own experiences as this will help to break down the barriers that it’s ok to talk about mental health.

“I’d encourage anyone who wants to be involved with contributing or sharing stories of recovery or fundraising to get in touch as I truly believe that everyone’s voice deserves to be heard.”

If you would like to view the current edition or past editions then head to - the online publication is free to view or download and is currently being released on a bi-monthly basis.

Dundee Flower and Food Festival – the event itself!

Monday, September 9th, 2013

And show day arrives – hear what SAMH Service Manager Kevin Bruce has to say!

Friday – Day One

The hard work is over and the results are in - drum roll please:

The Evergreen ‘Potager/EATS garden’ received a Silver Medal

The Chrysalis ‘The Amazing Sky Garden’ received a Silver Gilt Medal

SAMH’s ‘A Place To Sit And Talk’ garden received a Silver Medal

Quite a haul when you think about it, congratulations to one and all and thanks for all the hard work, blood sweat and tears. The opening day of the show is usually a quiet chilled out affair, with the big crowds coming in on Saturday and Sunday. Public reaction to the gardens has been fab so far lots of folk commenting on how innovative the designs were. A great deal of positive comments about SAMH as well and I must say hardly anyone this year is saying “what is SAMH”? people are now saying “oh SAMH, I saw the adverts on TV” so the power of the little grey box in every living room seems to have worked. Also got home at a decent time today! Looking forward to the rest of the show now…

Saturday – Day Two

Saturdays at the flower show are by no means the busiest day (that’s usually the Sunday) and I was only scheduled to do a “half shift” but as the day went on it became increasingly busy at the SAMH stall with lots of people asking for info on mental health and taking away lots of leaflets and materials.

The interest in our show gardens continues, people are taking lots of pictures and commenting on how lovely everything looks. Some ladies even ventured into the white garden to take photos…really wish they’d taken their shoes off though as the white decking is now a dirty shade of mud!!

Christine Walkden (The One Show gardener) had a brief wander around and Dave Ross from Evergreen managed to get a pic taken with her! We are hoping she will visit our section tomorrow for a chat, I also had two “glamorous assistants” today as Judith MacKinnon (Director of HR and National Programmes at SAMH) and Karen Gibson (Operations Manager at SAMH) pitched up to talk to the public, hand out leaflets and gardening advice!! I think they may even have sold some herbs!!

Looking forward to tomorrow, final day of the show and then the clear up begins!

Sunday – Day Three

The final day always has a tinge of sadness about it. It’s usually the busiest day so by 4pm we are thinking of tidying up and leaving the site for another year. I also like to review what we achieved so ask the following questions;

Did the public interact with our gardens? Have we handed out more than half of the promotional materials? Were the public inspired by our gardens? Did the majority of visitors recognise SAMH? Did we all have a good show?

The answer to all of the above is a resounding yes, lots of photos were taken, lots of questions about gardening and SAMH and this year, we genuinely had hardly anyone ask what SAMH does which is a big change from previous years.

Today Kirsty Keay (Suicide Prevention National Programme Manager) was interviewed by Bill Torrance of Radio Tay (and gardening guru)! He was also kind enough to pose for photographs with us both. Bill used to present the Beechgrove Garden and he has a lot of responsibility for me taking up horticulture in the first place, he’s always genuinely interested in our displays each year and is an all round “good lad”!

So after yet another extremely busy show it’s all over again. We have dismantled most of the stands and packed everything away to go to Kirkcaldy tomorrow. In February 2014 we will start the whole process again asking our gardeners what they want to do then the designs then the planning and before we know it we will be back at Camperdown Park setting up and constructing and having another cracking time…

Oh and we donated our prize money to SAMH’s Suicide Awareness Campaigns £400 in the bank for Kirsty and her team… Check out the website and find out more about the work of our suicide prevention team.

Jacqui’s story

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Jacqui lost her brother David to suicide in 2010. Here she tells us about her experience.

Jacqui and friends after the Edinburgh 2011 marathon

My brother David had suffered since he was 21. He’d had a number of attempted suicides before he took his own life.

We had lost touch and hadn’t spoken in about a year, but in 1999 my son was born and I wanted my brother to know he was an uncle. From that moment on my brother and I forged a great relationship. He just doted on my son, he was the best uncle ever. He never missed a birthday or Christmas. He was living in Aberdeen and he did well there, doing a lot of voluntary work: it was a good period in his life.

Around the time that I had my daughter, David’s engagement was broken off and a relative who’d lived near him moved away. He got very isolated and eventually decided to move to Edinburgh. He got a flat and we helped him to get it decorated, and he did really well. Things seemed to be OK.

2010 was the first year that we didn’t see my brother for my children’s birthdays. I don’t know what the problem was, though I know he had a new girlfriend around that time. The family went through to see David in August during the Edinburgh Festival. We had a nice enough time but I just felt he wanted to speak to us but he couldn’t. The next thing we knew, I was away for a hen weekend and I got a call to say that no-one could get hold of David. I phoned all his numbers but couldn’t get him. I told my husband he would need to go to Edinburgh and see him – I had a feeling.

It was my husband who found him. We don’t have a note so we don’t know why he did it.

Every time David tried to kill himself, we couldn’t get over the fact that there was no-one there to help him. We need a fast-track self-referral, or a referral that friends and family can make, for people who are feeling like David did. In the twenty-odd years that my brother was ill, support for suicidal people didn’t get any better.

At David’s funeral we held a collection for SAMH. I’ve run the Edinburgh Marathon Relay to raise funds for SAMH and my friend Karen is running the New York Marathon to raise funds. I think that raising funds is really important, and I’m planning to continue in the run-up to my 40th birthday party.

There are people out there who have thoughts of suicide crossing their mind frequently, many times a day. But if they have the courage to speak out, it might save them.

I think the SAMH campaign can only make things better. There is still huge stigma: people don’t know what to say to me about David’s death.  People still don’t understand.

Two people die by suicide in Scotland every day. SAMH believe this is Two Too Many. To donate £3 text TALK to 70040 or visit the SAMH website to make a donation online.

For information, guidance, and support resources as well as more details of the campaign visit the SAMH website.

SAMH Christmas Cards

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Christmas is only 9 weeks away! Have you bought your Christmas Cards yet? Don’t leave it until the last minute, download our Christmas card order form, choose your favourites and send your form along with a cheque to SAMH. It couldn’t be easier!

Fundraising in Aberdeen

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Our services work hard all year round, not only to support their service users but also to raise funds for SAMH’s work. Recently, our Aberdeen Supported Accommodation service raised £350 from a coffee morning and raffle. Several staff contributed mouth-watering home bakes and local businesses donated some excellent raffle prizes. Georgian Kilt Hire donated a voucher worth £75 to hire a kilt outfit; STV donated a tour of their Aberdeen studios for 5 people with an opportunity to have a go at news reading; and the Marcliffe at Pitfodels hotel donated a £50 voucher for their spa. The staff’s first attempt at this kind of event was so successful that they are looking to hold a similar day on an even bigger scale in the near future. Huge thanks to all our sponsors and a gigantic well done to everyone involved!

Aberdeen’s fantastic fundraising

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Staff member Mary Taylor

SAMH services don’t just help people who have mental health and
related problems, they also do a lot of great fundraising work. Aberdeen Supported Accommodation recently raised £350 from a coffee morning and raffle held in Rubislaw Church Centre. Several staff contributed mouth-watering home bakes and local businesses donated some excellent raffle prizes. Georgian Kilt Hire donated a voucher worth £75 to hire a kilt outfit; STV donated a tour of their Aberdeen studios for 5 people with an opportunity to have a go at news reading; and the Marcliffe at Pitfodels hotel, donated a £50 voucher for their spa. The staff’s first attempt at this kind of event was so successful that they are looking to hold a similar day on an even bigger scale in the near future.
Well done to all and a huge thanks to those who donated prizes!

Twelve Challenges, Twelve Months

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Sean Tierney is fundraising for SAMH by completing twelve different challenges in the twelve months of 2012. He’ll be blogging about his challenges both here and on his own blog Here’s his first post.

The challenge: The aim is to undertake a series of twelve month-long challenges for the duration of 2012.

I want to challenge myself physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. In doing so I hope to raise awareness of mental health issues, and show that small changes can have a big impact.

Here are the Twelve in ‘12 Challenges:
January: Vegetariansim
February: No TV/Radio/DVDS/Newspapers
March: Keep a daily photoblog
April: No drinking alcohol
May: Sunrise/Sunset – get up at sunrise and go to bed at sunset everyday
June: Live outside
July: Live on £5 per day
August: Volunteering
September: Sporting goal
October: Good deed a day
November: Write a letter a day to someone
December: Do a painting/drawing every day

It’s all for an amazing cause!

*While I have compiled the list, it is subject to change. The existing list is just provisional, and I’ll announce at the start of each month what the confirmed challenge is. January remains vegetarianism though.

Andy Kershaw and the Big Pink Christmas Craft Fair

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Kev Bruce, a SAMH Service Manager, reports on the Christmas fair he organised to raise funds for SAMH: and his unexpected celebrity visitor!

The Big Pink Christmas Fairy gets ready for the fair!

I asked Jill and Mhairi “out of” the Red Shed Art Collective if we could hold a craft fair in Arbroath with the purpose of raising funds for SAMH and raising awareness of our work with people with mental health issues: how hard could it be to put on a craft fair?

First of all organising artists and makers! Then booking a venue, then advertising and publicity, then all the work on the day, keeping everyone happy,  making sure there is plenty of tea and coffee… Thanks to Kathleen, Joan and Pauline from the West Kirk for keeping all the crafters in tea and coffee all day.

Everyone there said it was a great success, a really good vibe and very friendly. We raised a fantastic £300: a brilliant total, especially during these hard financial times. SAMH staff and service users enjoyed being there selling Christmas cards and handing out stress balls.  Alan Mitchell, Chief Exec of the Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce officially opened the event and commented on the high quality of craftwork on display and the huge amount of talent in Angus.

Andy Kershaw gets to work!

Much to our surprise and delight, Andy Kershaw, broadcaster and writer, travelled all the way from Cheshire to be there to support us! He rolled his sleeves up and mucked in with the hard work, while his dog Buster charmed the people of Arbroath all day with his constant hunt for mince pie scraps!

All in all it was a fantastic day which will be, hopefully the first of many…thanks to everyone who helped us raise such a fantastic amount for SAMH. If you’d like to make a donation, just visit our website: thank you.

Next year Kev will be undertaking his own fundraising challenge for SAMH, cycling round Scotland: and this is the bike he'll be doing it on!