Year 7s raise £300 for local mental health charity

Posted on: 17th Dec

Year 7 students at The Downs School have raised £300 for local charity ‘Time to Talk’ by taking part in its ‘Climb for Counselling Challenge’. The event challenged students to work in teams to see if they could walk the equivalent distance of climbing a mountain over a limited time period.

Working in their tutor groups and walking during morning registration, break time and lunchtime, the students chose Malaysia’s tallest mountain, Mount Kinabalu as their target, a total distance of 17.4km. The students not only rose to the challenge, they completely smashed their target - despite the inclement weather - completing an incredible in total and climbing the mountain a total of 19 times.

Students George I, Freya M and Edward B were the three highest climbers and all students involved received certificates for their efforts. Freya said “I’m very proud of myself and it was a great way to raise money. It was very engaging and everyone enjoyed it.”

Time to Talk provides a free counselling service for 11-25 year olds in West Berkshire. The charity saw just over 500 people in 2019, and this year has seen a 25% rise in referrals for counselling due to the added pressure and anxiety caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tammy Willsher Charity Service Manager said: “We love that The Downs embraced this challenge and I was delighted to hear that Year 7 were climbing Mount Kinabalu. We know that exercise is hugely beneficially for mental health and I think they are setting the most wonderful example for other young people.  We are really impressed.”

Head of Year 7, Miss Duthie said she was incredibly proud of the students’ achievements. “They have risen to the challenge and approached it with energy and determination, motivating each other to travel as far as possible. Time to Talk is such a valuable service in West Berkshire and our students should be pleased with their efforts.”

The Downs School runs a programme to support students with their mental health, and as Deputy Headteacher Mr Wilson confirmed, the focus in this area is currently just as important as supporting students with their physical health. “The anxiety some of our students have experienced due to COVID-19 means that support is more needed than ever before. Our highly experienced pastoral team, comprising Heads of Year and Student Managers, works with a range of partners, including the Emotional Health Academy, Time to Talk counsellors and the Mental Health Support Team, to provide our most vulnerable students with the mental health support they need to help them through the tough times.”

The £300 raised by The Downs School has contributed to the final total of over just over £16,000 raised by schools in West Berkshire.

Picture from left to right are George C, Ashton O, Freya M, Lucas W and Edwards H with the certificates they received for completing the challenge.







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