A pack of brave men and women have climbed Scotland’s Ben Nevis to raise vital funds towards Cornwall’s new – and only – young people’s mental health unit.
Nine past and present team members from Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s (CFT) Digital Services team tackled the mountain which stands at a staggering 4,408 feet and is the tallest mountain in the British Isles.
A target of £5,000 was smashed and just over £6,440 has been raised by the team. The fearless climbing team included Robyn Ahearn, climb organiser and Systems Admin and Configuration Technician; Kerry Beynon, Systems Admin and Configuration Lead; Ashley Matthews, Service Desk Technician; Jo Trays, Change and Release Lead; Nicki Rayment, Head of Digital Services; Gareth Pitt, Technical Services Manager; Jeremy Hocking, Solution Architect; Robert Waggett, SQL Assistant and Cara Gilligan, Information Analyst.
Ahead of the walk, Kerry Beynon, System Admin and Configuration Lead commented: "As a mother to two young boys I could not imagine what it feels like when a loved one is miles away going through such a difficult time and not being able to support them when they need it most. Climbing Ben Nevis is something totally out of my comfort zone but being able to raise awareness of young people’s mental health and raising funds for the unit gives me the determination to achieve this. I am proud to be supporting the Appeal to ensure children can get the support they need close to home."
Jeremy Hocking, who is CFT’s Solution Architect added: “As a proud Cornishman and father of two young boys, I’m climbing Ben Nevis to help ensure that the young people of Cornwall who need help are able to get that help locally. I want to help build a brighter future for young people in our county, so I’m challenging myself to aid and honour those who face their own challenges everyday coping with a mental disorder.”
CFT will be running the brand new 14 bed Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) unit, called Sowenna, at the Bodmin Hospital site.
Since the fundraising appeal launched in September last year, vital funds have been raised to pay for ‘icing on the cake’ items. Funds like the ones raised by the Digital Services Team, will enable CFT to provide additional items and specialist areas that will really make a difference to young people’s recovery, health and wellbeing. These include: a minibus; a multipurpose activity barn for team sports and performance arts; parental accommodation to allow families to stay over; a café to allow visits with family and friends; therapeutic gardens, and equipment for music, arts and cooking.
It is hoped that these ‘icing on the cake’ items will transform Sowenna from a high quality centre to the very best in the country.
Robyn Ahearn, a Systems Admin and Configuration Technician for CFT is a keen supporter and fundraiser for the Sowenna appeal. She commented: “Being a Bodmin girl I’ve always loved our way of living down here and by building the Sowenna unit, I feel that we are finally being put on the map. The idea for climbing Ben Nevis came when I was thinking of ways to fundraise so I pitched it to the team. I have to say, people weren’t jumping around like I was at the idea but they soon came around.
“I am so proud and privileged to have been part of a great team and department like Digital Services. All along our efforts have been made aware of by the whole team and I believe I wouldn’t have made this trip without all of their support. Climbing Ben Nevis has been the hardest but most incredible achievement to date. I’m so proud of myself. We all have difficulties in life and barriers that are sent to test us but it’s those people that don’t have help that we need to push for and fight for. I hope that I have inspired others to do the same.”