Staff from a leading North East regeneration specialist put mind over matter to tackle the lockdown blues with a cycling charity challenge.

The Vistry Velo saw employees from Vistry Partnerships North East cycle from its head office in Great Park Newcastle to six of its house building sites in the north of its operating area – a total of 100km – to raise money for the mental health charity Mind.

Andrew Rennie, Development Director, with Vistry Partnerships North East said:  “As a group, Vistry is taking part in a virtual cycling challenge around all of the partnerships head offices, 1300km in total, with staff able to cycle as few or as many miles as they like over the week to reach the target distance.

“Here in the North East we wanted to shift it up a gear, so decided we would dust down the lycra and our bikes to ride to six of our sites within a day – a challenge considering we are all amateur cyclists!”

The route – starting and finishing at partnership North’s head office – travelled to Tynemouth, Washington, Birtley, Bensham, Lobley Hill and Rowlands Gill.

Chosen as the group’s charity for the year, Mind provides advice and support for everyone experiencing a mental health problem in England and Wales. The coronavirus pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on the nation’s mental health, especially for those of us with existing mental health problems. A recent survey by Mind found that more than half of adults and over two thirds of young people said that their mental health had got worse during lockdown.

Emma Ihsan, Head of Corporate Partnerships at Mind, said: “We are so grateful to colleagues at Vistry Partnerships for getting on their bikes and pedalling an enormous distance to raise money for Mind. The pandemic is having a devastating effect on our mental health, and we must continue to be there for everyone who needs us. The ongoing support from Vistry Partnerships is helping us to fund vital services like the Mind Infoline, legal line and online information resources, at a time when they are perhaps needed more than ever.”

To date Vistry Partnerships across the UK have raised over £30,000 for Mind.  Fundraising activities have included a 65 mile trek along Hadrian’s Wall, sky diving, bake sales and a ‘bring your dog’ to work day.

For more information or to donate please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/vistrypartnershipsnortheastfeelfitforfunds2020

*Picture caption: A quick selfie stop with an angel! From left to right: Andrew Rennie, Ross Archer, Alan Cuthbertson and David Scott.