Mental health ambassador to run marathon in aid of local services

PUBLISHED: 12:29 10 April 2018 | UPDATED: 10:09 26 April 2018

Tod Sullivan will be taking part in the London Marathon. Picture: Nick Butcher

Tod Sullivan will be taking part in the London Marathon. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

Lowestoft’s first mental health ambassador is gearing up to take part in the London Marathon and raise money which will directly benefit local people.

Tod Sullivan will take part in the world famous race on Sunday, April 22, to support those living with mental health issues across Waveney.

However Mr Sullivan’s entry to the event and subsequent fundraising all started as something of a happy accident.

He said: “I felt that I needed to get fitter so applied to the London Marathon ballot to motivate me to do that.

“It’s a one in 20 chance so I didn’t think I would actually get in.

“It was unplanned but it has worked out perfectly – once I was in I knew I had to raise money and awareness for mental health.”

He added: “I have never run that far before but it feels like I am doing okay.

“I took part in the Lowestoft half-marathon and have been lucky avoiding any injuries.”

Mr Sullivan set himself the goal of raising £500 for local causes – a target he has already surpassed.

He said: “It’s brilliant considering I have only really been asking friends and publicising it on Facebook.”

The former mayor has currently raised £515 through his total giving page.

He added: “It’s amazing for people to be so generous.”

Mr Sullivan is keen for “all the money to go and help local projects”.

He said: “The biggest difference you can make is by doing things super local.

“The more local – the more chance you have of directly helping people.

“People with mental health diagnosis are more likely to be victims of crime, discrimination, and to be financially disadvantaged than almost any other group of people.

“Social isolation and being unable to access community activities presents a huge risk factor. One which we hope to help to address in some small way.”

The money will initially be held by Lowestoft-based charity Access Community Trust while the Mental Health Council decide where and how funds should be allocated.

The Mental Health Council is a group of people with either lived experience or experience in the mental health sector.

Mr Sullivan added: “It will make sure the voice of people with lived experiences is at the heart of all decisions.”

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