A month-long charity campaign focused on helping front-line workers to improve their mental health and wellbeing has begun, with celebrity doctor Tom Naylor supporting the effort by urging the public to sign up.
Taking place from 1 October, the Blue Light Get Active Challenge will see Brits clocking up as many hours of fitness or mindfulness exercises as they can to raise funds for The Fire Fighters Charity, The Air Ambulance Service, The Ambulance Staff Charity and Police Care UK.
Launched in partnership with Blue Light Card, the country’s leading emergency service discount provider, and wellbeing organisation Get Active Challenges, the charity challenge aims to tackle burnout, stress and poor mental health in the emergency services and NHS communities. Orthopaedic surgeon, TV doctor and Dancing on Ice star, Tom Naylor, has also shown his support for the campaign that highlights the benefits that exercise can have on wellbeing.
According to a House of Commons study on workforce burnout and resilience, 92% of NHS trusts are concerned about staff wellbeing and burnout. In addition, a report by the UK’s Chief Medical Officers found that there is a 20–30% lower risk of depression for adults who participate in daily physical activity.
Participants can choose any fitness or mindfulness activity they wish, with suggestions including walking, running, cycling, swimming or meditation. Points will be awarded for each activity and those taking part will be able to log their activities using the free Blue Light Get Active Challenge app for a chance to be included on the challenge leader board.
The charity challenge is open to all emergency services workers and supporters who can also choose to donate further to the charities through their JustGiving pages. All money raised will be split equally across all charities, with participants set to receive a medal at the end of the month. So far, almost 300 people have signed up to the challenge. Participants can sign up to the challenge at any point during October by visiting the Blue Light Get Active website.
Dr Tom Naylor, who is also a professional figure skater, explained that, due to his job, he is well aware of the impact that working on the front line can have on emergency service workers. He said: ‘The psychological impact from the last few years has been huge as our blue light community has worked tirelessly to protect the public through multiple lockdowns.
‘Exercise is fantastic for joint health and strength, but also for your mental health. I know first-hand how calming it can be to go outside for a walk or take a short swim, and in the last year I have a much better appreciation of how important it is to spend time connecting with your loved ones. I’m so pleased to be able to support the Blue Light Get Active campaign, spreading awareness of the benefits that small daily actions can do to better the mind, while raising money for four fantastic causes.’
Commenting on the challenge’s launch, Tom Dalby, CEO of Blue Light Card, said: ‘Support for the NHS and emergency service workers is something that has always been really important to us and this year it’s clear they need more support than ever before. We know the past 18 months have been incredibly tough for the blue light community with many emergency services workers going above and beyond in the face of adversity to help others. However, it’s important they take time to look after themselves, too.
‘Whether that’s going for a swim, meditating or walking, there are so many ways to get involved. We encourage front-line workers and those who support the brilliant work they do, to join us and Get Active for what is set to be a fantastic month of raising money for four fantastic charities who are dedicated to improving the wellbeing of our blue light community.’
Entrants are also encouraged to share their photos and videos on social media using the hashtag #BlueLightGetActive.
David Kelly, director at Get Active Challenges, added: ‘There are over a million people who work for the NHS and emergency services in the UK – and they all move heaven and earth to care for the country on a daily basis. For such workers it can be hard to dedicate time for themselves. However, by encouraging participants to clock up as many minutes of movement and mindfulness as they can this month, it will mean they can put steps in place to help combat burnout and stress whilst also raising money for four very worthwhile causes.
‘It’s set to be a brilliant month and we look forward to seeing emergency services workers and their supporters getting involved and making steps to get active and look after their health and wellbeing.’
To register or find out more about the Blue Light Get Active Challenge visit: bluelightgetactive.com