Leeds Abbey Dash 2016 | 10k race | Age UK

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The Age UK Leeds Abbey Dash is a 10k race through the streets of Leeds with up to 12,000 runners, from across the country, aiming to gain a personal best on our fast and flat course. This will be our 31st race and every year it gets bigger and better.

The early bird offer, which can save you 20% on entry, will end on August 31st so sign up here today!

It doesn’t matter if you’re an elite or beginner runner,

we know you’ll enjoy the Age UK Leeds Abbey Dash

Fast Facts

  • Date: Sunday 6 November 2016
  • Time: 9.30am race start (9.00am warm-up)
  • Distance: 10k road race
  • Ages: 15+ (the Junior Dash is open to 8-14 year olds)
  • Cost: Earlybird rate £20 (£18 UKA)
  • Facilities: Water station, chip-timed, sport photography, finish line goodies

Take a look at our 2014 highlights,

Find out more about other events and activities of Age UK here

 

Are you lonely?

 

Our 21st Century lives mean that more and more of us are struggling with loneliness.   Sometimes this is a transient phase but often it is chronic.   It’s been said that loneliness can lie at the root of most mental illness.

 

There is a difference between loneliness and solitude. The Campaign to end loneliness claims that “Loneliness is a bigger problem than simply an emotional experience.  Research shows that loneliness and social isolation are harmful to our health: lacking social connections is a comparable risk factor for early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and is worse for us than well-known risk factors such as obesity and physical inactivity.”    It is staggering isn’t it.  Comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

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I once sat in a Mental Health Awareness training session with a  Trainer who was very experienced in community mental health. He said it would be helpful for many people to find a loving and supportive relationship – but we can’t prescribe a boyfriend and just pull one out of the cupboard.

Our humanness is often something we as a society have pushed away – it’s pretty inconvenient in this fast-paced world at times.  But that’s exactly what we are, human.

Hope is a good antidote to loneliness.   Keeping my mind occupied and stimulated can relieve me of the negative effects when I feel lonely and  I know some people that can take great joy from art.  If I am feeling lonely I have to really make an effort to look after myself and,  of course,  to reach out to others.   We can take small steps such as phoning an acquaintance for a coffee or joining some kind of group or social activity.  Sometimes it requires being brave.  I haven’t read Feel the Fear and do it anyway but someone has recently recommended this to me.

Voluntary work is a good idea, even if you are working as there are one-off events too.  I recently volunteered at an 80’s festival and I also built a path.   Do it Org is a great website where you can find voluntary positions all over the country.

The digital world is abound with options and there are online groups such as meetup which offer everything from walking groups to cinema outings.  It’s true ,though,  that we can still feel lonely with people around.   Perhaps that’s because when socialising with people one doesn’t know so well it feels safer to wear a mask at times, at least it does for me.  Perhaps another little step is to lower this mask?

 

If anyone would like to share their thoughts on the topic of loneliness please do so, either in the comments on the blog, Facebook or Twitter.

 

Compassion is vital in the Workplace

Compassion is essential at work. Sadly even workplaces which are by nature supposed to be compassionate are often not, especially when scratched beneath the surface. 

The workplace can be a difficult area for many of us at times.  We usually work in teams, may have deadlines or targets, we may be placed within a hierarchy, change could be forced upon us, we may feel under-stimulated or over stretched, we may be observed and  judged, things may not be fair and equal and we don’t always feel in control. Phew!  You can see why we need to be resilient in this modern age.  Sadly we don’t always have huge reserves of resilience and may feel below par and not always handle such challenges well.

Problems at work can really knock people and there are huge costs involved – both the impact on people’s lives and financial consequences for society as a whole. People may suffer from stress (work) related illnesses and reactive depression.

It’s true that life can be  complicated and often problems outside of work can increase our difficulties within the workplace and everything can get a bit mixed up. People may be dealing with big issues such as grief, chronic loneliness or perhaps struggling in a relationship.  Lets face it;  life is life, we all face difficulties from time to time.  Employers need to understand this and cater for this with compassion, enabling employees to thrive rather than struggle.

Schemes such as the Mindful employer exist but often they fall short of protecting employees and don’t work.  We need more than tick boxes, we need a culture which supports people rather than punishes people.  We need ethical employers who act with kindness and understanding. We need real living, breathing compassion.  

Managing Mental Health in the Workplace from the Mental Health Foundation.

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BE COMPASSIONATE 

Some people seem inherently more compassionate (it is active) than others, however the good news we can learn about compassion and we can strengthen and develop our compassion muscle.

Mental Health Awareness week 2016

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This week is Mental Health Awareness week. For anyone who is often emotionally/mentally less than well, it’s a useful time to reflect on how the annual event might help.

Well acquainted since childhood of the shaky mental health of people close to me, and then subsequently my own brush with ‘breakdown’, I might as a result, claim to be ‘aware’. I try to remain mindful however ,that there is much to learn from the experience of others.

Disclosing aspects of my episodes of emotional/mental ill-at-easness feel like a risk ,but one I usually take. It’s also an opportunity to reaffirm that it’s just one aspect of my life experience, and one of which I’m not ashamed.

Frequently, and especially this awareness week, I find myself still reflecting on the ‘language’ the ‘powers that be’ would label the experience of emotional/mental ill-ease, and I assert that emotional response is an appropriate one in a ‘world gone wrong’, and therefore not necessarily a treatable behaviour. It’s useful to remain aware!

The theme of this years awareness raising is relationships. The organisation Mental Health Foundation have a lovely set of free downloadable logos which highlight the different aspects of the value of our relationships, see here

May is also National Walking Month …..strolling with friends new or old is an ideal way to build on any existing relationships , or make new ones. Here is a site for some walking suggestions. Often times people with a common interest just meet up informally , and within our group we’ve been privileged to do that. You can read here about one such occasion.

I lead a sedentary life for most of the winter months but usually get motivated to restart some brisk walking in April. Spring was late this year so getting out seemed harder but May blossom was my wake up call to ‘move it’, as was my good neighbour’s invites to join with her for an occasional walk after work……a welcome gesture.

In an age when relationships appear to be increasingly carried out in cyberspace, and many irrespective of age report feeling isolated, I find the physical proximity of relationships ever more important. Perhaps this week is a good time to think over ways our relationships might be mutually rewarding.

Cheers, Sue

 

New Year goals for AIM Education, Leeds

Goals and aims for New Year.

The Aim Education Organisation’s mission statement is

“Creating opportunities to overcome inequalities and enrich local communities.”

In furthering their objectives the  Aim Education Organisation had already by November 2014 set their goals for this New Year, one of them being a 24 hour continuous!….yes continuous!…..five-a-side football match.

They had already in November set and completed the organisations first challenge, and what a challenge it was, an overnight trek around the 80 mile boundary of Leeds. One participant Jonny Wooton described it as “agony and ecstasy”, here is his account of the event.

Leeds Trek 2014

“The inaugural event of Leeds Trek in November 2014, was an 80 mile overnight trek of agony and ecstasy! The aim of the event was to raise funds, which would be used to help re-engage children in Leeds who have become disengaged from school.

AT 7.00AM on Saturday November 24, 20 brave individuals embarked on a historic walk around Leeds. The grueling 80 miles challenge started in the centre of Leeds, and reached as far as the Cow and Calf rocks on Ilkley Moor. The trek was the first (hopefully of many) Aim Education Organisation’s, Leeds Trek.intend to arrange.

As the walkers hiked between Leeds centre towards Roundhay Park, it was our four-legged friend Alan, a border terrier that flew out of the traps to set the pace until checkpoint one. As the walkers fast-approached the second checkpoint at Thorner, Alan retired for the day,  but  the tight-knit group of trekkers kept up their spirits as they battled their way through the mist. Once they reached the lovely village of Thorner, they received a warm welcome of  excellent coffee and croissants at The Beehive. At this point some walkers had developed blisters and were having plasters and tape applied.to them. Despite the discomfort trekkers experienced the overall goal of raising funds for Aim Education remained a powerful incentive to carry them onward.

Harewood House(Some of the Trekkers outside Harewood House)

Harewood House was the next checkpoint and our trekkers adrenaline was now flowing. En-route to their next stage at Otley Chevin they soldiered on through a light shower of rain . Along the way new friendships were being made, the oldest competitor John, 73, was building a rapport with Sean, just 17.

The event was the brainchild pf Aim Education’s Head of Program, Carl Harrison. Carl had positioned himself in the centre of the group of trekkers, and from there was able to encourage each competitor.  Carl’s message about the aim and importance of the event was loud and clear …..we had to finish! Our success would help to re-engage children who had become disengaged from West Leeds schools, allowing them the opportunity to get back on track via Aim Education’s program.

The Cow and Calf was reached at 10pm, at this point the whole group could now see that completing the ultra-marathon challenge was becoming a real possibility.
Despite the darkness, our spirits remained high, as we passed through Guiseley, Horsforth and Headingly hunger pangs started to kick in. Meanwhile in the early hours, AIM’s administrator Babs was preparing a splendid Chicken Casserole dish, this was for the teams later arrival at AIM’s HQ, St Thomas’ Community Centre in Stanningley.

Morley(Morley with Jenny May and mum at 5.00am)
Our 5a.m. food stop was in Morley, where Jenny and her kind-hearted mum were on hand with hot drinks and some scrumptious snacks, which loaded trekkers full of the necessary carbohydrates to help see them through until the final checkpoint.
The final stop was at the Brown Cow in Temple Newsam, where the walking weary were given by way of a final ‘push,’ some words of encouragement from Pauline Grahame,  Councillor for Cross Gates and Whinmoor.
The last leg of the trek was undoubtedly the hardest but contestants ploughed on to complete the 80 miles Leeds Trek to Leeds Sports Centre, and were greeted by rapturous applause!
AIM Education would like to thank all the pubs, centres and kind individuals that helped them along the way. Planning is already underway for the 2015 event.  Word on the street is that it may be a 24hr continuous five-a-side football match. If you are interested in getting involved and want to help raise funds to make Leeds a better place both now and in the future please contact Carl Harrison on 07581883160 or email him at carlharrison@aimeducation.co.uk

For information about AIM Education please contact our centre at St Thomas’ Church Hall, Stanningley, Leeds, LS28 6NG or call 01132554342