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We have been talking to Josh Banyard, one of our Peer Support Workers, about his work with the Newcastle United Foundation.

As part of our new community mental health initiative in Newcastle, we created 28 new jobs, including 21 peer support roles for people with lived experience of mental ill-health. Josh was one of those successful candidates!

We’re so proud of Josh, who has recently been nominated in the Positive Role Model Award category of the National Diversity Awards, for his work with the Newcastle Untied Foundation’s (NUF) ’Be A Game Changer’ campaign.

Josh uses his lived experience of mental ill-health to support people through his work with NUF, as well as in his work for Mental Health Concern as a Peer Support Worker.

Over lockdown, Josh walked over 150 miles to raise awareness for NUF. He has also completed the 3 peaks challenge and will be running the Great North Run this year. So far, Josh has raised around £2,000 for NUF!

In August, Josh is walking 275 miles over 5 days from Wembley to St James’ Park stadium in Newcastle to raise money for NUF. The money Josh raises will be used to support NUF’s ‘Be a Game Changer’ campaign.

Josh explains:

“The ‘Be a Game Changer’ campaign is a mental health campaign designed to encourage men to open up about their mental health. We do a lot around men’s mental health, but our support is inclusive and open to everyone.

It’s an arm of the health and wellbeing team; we run wellbeing workshops, mental health first aid courses, and offer peer support. We also run mental health football and walking football. We like to keep things fun!

I’m so grateful to Steve Beharall and Ashley Lowe from NUF for their incredible support over the years and for letting me be a part of it all.”

Josh has lived experience of mental ill-health, which he channels into his work with NUF to help other people who are struggling with their mental health.

Josh explains:

“I fell into the campaign by accident really, I attended a wellbeing session about regaining fitness and learning coping techniques. From here I was asked if I’d like to share my mental health story. Things progressed from there and I now regularly share my story and deliver mental health talks.

I’m just a normal bloke, living a normal life. I think that’s what makes my story so relatable.

The Newcastle United Foundation saved my life. I’m really motivated to raise awareness about the support that’s out there for people in the North East, because I know the impact it can have on people.

Even if it reaches one person that makes all the difference.”

We’re delighted that Josh’s fantastic work is being recognised through his nomination for a Positive Role Model Award.

If you would like to support Josh’s fundraising efforts, you can donate to his JustGiving page here.

 

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