Successful fundraising activity challenge – despite the weather

February 2021

Our supporters kick off 2021 being active, enjoying the benefits of exercise on mental well-being and raising much-needed funds for West Sussex Mind with our Mile a Day challenge. Thanks everyone!

Each January, West Sussex Mind encourages people to be active every day and get the new year off to a great start. Be Active is one of the five ways to well-being, and the benefit of exercise for positive mental health has been seen more and more over the course of the pandemic.

For 2021 the challenge was to walk, run, cycle or swim A Mile a Day for West Sussex Mind – no mean feat when the wind sent the rain flying in horizontal sheets on several occasions. There was no registration fee, but anyone who raised over £15 for the campaign became the proud recipient of a West Sussex Mind supporter’s T-shirt.

Participants included a family who have been shielding since March 2020, a woman determined to spend Lockdown 3 seeing off the weight she accumulated during Lockdowns 1 and 2, a couple looking for the motivation to get outside every day – and several others who completed previous challenges.

This year, a private Facebook group was created so Milers could record their daily progress – and cheer each other on when the weather was less than inviting.

Despite being more low-key than previous challenges, 2021 turned out to be a vintage year for both participation and fundraising. Community Fundraising Lead Sarah Palmer put the success down to people being more focused on their mental health and well-being since the pandemic began.

I was overwhelmed with the participants’ enthusiasm. People sent me photos of themselves in their West Sussex Mind T-shirts getting ready to exercise, and spurred each other on to get out in the rain

A closed Facebook group was new to us in terms of creating a buzz for a fundraising event, and is something we’ll definitely do again

Milers’ enthusiasm for the challenge is reflected in the messages left on the campaign’s JustGiving page:

“I’m doing my mile a day for (West Sussex) Mind again. I did it last year and it really helped my mental health through the dark days of January.”

“I’m doing my mile a day for West Sussex Mind. I'm sure it will help my mental health and hopefully raise some much needed funds to help provide services to those in need at this difficult time.”

“Thank you for reintroducing us to the concept of exercise whilst hopefully helping others.”

“Well done for getting me off my backside! I will try to keep it up for 2021 as there is no doubting the benefits :-)”

So, what’s next for the active supporters of West Sussex Mind? There’s the opportunity to raise funds for the charity at the Worthing 10k (www. on June 13, as we are delighted to be one of the race’s official partners this year.

And keep an eye out for the launch of West Sussex Mind’s very own long distance walking/running/cycling path – linking all our service hubs across the county. The route takes in the very best of West Sussex’s coast and countryside. Teamed with our brand new treasure hunts, there will be no better way for the community to embrace the five ways to well-being, for better mental health.

A fundraiser's fitbit records progress during the Mile a Day challenge