In many ways, mental health is just like our physical health: everybody has it and we need to take care of it. Statistics show that around one in four people will experience mental health problems in any given year and last year suicide rates in England hit a record high.
RT Projects are a local charity focussed on saving lives through art. Based at 'The Open Art Surgery' in Gilesgate, Durham; RT Projects offer a happy, safe and creative space for individuals who are experiencing poor mental health. They provide opportunities, for those in need of support, to increase their social interaction and provide a creative outlet.
RT Projects is a charity that is very close to my own heart. I first became involved with RT Projects in 2012, when I was looking for volunteering opportunities. I volunteered with the charity for a number of years and I am now a trustee for RT Projects. It is through these roles that I have been able to see first-hand the wonderful work that they do and the difference that it is making to peoples lives.
The past few months have been especially challenging for everyone and we have all had to find new ways of coping during the current pandemic. Despite the lockdown restrictions, RT Projects have been busier than ever, developing new ways to support people and moving many resources online to ensure that no one is left feeling isolated or alone.
RT Projects are an independent organisation funded by a combination of grants, contracts and their own fundraising initiatives. Every year RT Projects organises ‘RUN TO THE SUN’ – a 24 hour sponsored relay race. This year, due to lockdown restrictions, we are keeping the event running by undertaking challenges in our own homes. Taking inspiration from the very popular ice bucket challenge, I have decide to make a splash for RT Projects this year. Not with one bucket of ice cold water but with 24.. one for every hour of the relay! Of course, my sister was more than happy to help... so if you want to see 24 ice cold buckets of water poured over me then all you have to do is donate. All of my sponsorship money will go directly to RT Projects to help them continue their wonderful work, in supporting our local community with their mental health. Any donation will be hugely appreciated - a HUGE THANKS in advance!