Leicestershire author, Stewart Bint, will be going barefoot from May 10-16 as he takes on two 5km walks during Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 for the mental health charity, Lamp (Leicestershire Action for Mental Health Project).
Lamp recently launched the Lamp5k Around the World Challenge - a campaign to promote the positive effects of physical exercise on mental health.
The charity aims to recruit 8,000 people across Leicestershire and Rutland to take the 5k challenge around the circumference of the world.
Participants can run, walk, ride or roll 5km during Mental Health Awareness Week and hopes to raise funds in the process to support its services.
As a keen walker and advocate of good mental health, author Stewart has decided to take on the Lamp5k – without shoes or socks! He will be walking two 5km routes across fields, bridleways, gravel paths and urban streets.
Stewart commented: “I've been passionate about mental health after suffering a crisis in 1997, which led to me being hospitalised for 10 weeks. When I learned of Lamp's 5k event, it seemed an ideal opportunity to raise awareness of Lamp and demonstrate how regular exercise helps me.
“As an avid walker, I felt 5km would be too easy for me personally; so, as I go barefoot as much as possible for both mental and physical health reasons, I set myself the challenge of doing two 5km walks in bare feet during Mental Health Awareness Week - one on the opening day, and one on the closing day.”
The Lamp5k is a fun challenge with a serious message behind it. Lamp, which helps people access mental health services, has reported an upsurge in demand for its helpline, advocacy services and online resources during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The average number of calls per month had doubled by October 2020 and the annual target for advocacy support, April 2020-March 2021, was reached last year, months ahead of schedule.
Lamp ambassador Greg Hollingsworth said: “We’re delighted to hear about Stewart’s plans for the Lamp5k and hope his routes aren’t too tough on his feet! People can do the 5km however they want - cycle it, run it or walk it – with or without shoes!
“The important thing is to raise awareness of the benefits to our mental health of physical exercise.”
Local businesses are already throwing their weight behind the campaign, including lead sponsor Hinckley and Rugby Building Society.