A mile in her shoes


Are you a runner?

I have never seen as many running groups as I do now, with the local park run and community organised running events everyone seems to be enjoying the sport and keeping fit.

Runners are many and varied, from all walks of life, all shapes and sizes and all levels of fitness, all aiming for different goals by doing something that is free and good for your health.

Research has shown that exercise releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel good, boosting your self-esteem, helping you concentrate and look and feel better which can vastly improve the quality of your emotional and mental life, and the extra benefit of running is it’s free!

A mile in her shoes encourages women who are at risk of homelessness or affected by related issues to try running as a way of exercising, socialising, lifting confidence and boosting self-esteem.

Various social factors put women at greater risk of poor mental health, but their readiness to talk about their feelings and their strong social networks can help protect their mental health.


By creating running groups for women the charity is working to create, lead and support running fitness groups through a volunteer-led programme. Sessions are provided by trained and insured female volunteers who are qualified to lead mixed ability groups.

By providing all of the appropriate clothing and working to identify and remove any barriers to running, they enable participants to access the same mental, physical, health and social benefits from running as any other woman.


The charity is run entirely by volunteers, money is raised by fundraising and most of the kit is donated second-hand by other runners. If you have any kit you don’t wear anymore and it’s in excellent condition, think about donating it.

To donate to A Mile in Her Shoes – each group costs around £5 per week to deliver – you can do so here or create a  fundraising page on the charity’s giving page.


Dementia awareness – Talk about it Tuesday


I recently attended a talk on Dementia. I thought I knew what it was. It turns out I had no idea of how it destroys the brain bit by bit causing nerve cell death and tissue loss. Sounds frightening doesn’t it?

I listened to Eula, the speaker, talk of her experience of working with Alzheimers and Dementia. She is passionate about raising awareness of the illness so it will no longer be stigmatised and to highlight the amazing work that carers and caregivers do.

I have never been through so many emotions in an hour of listening to someone speak, she had very funny stories about 70 year olds who now believe they are 20 and want to go out sowing their wild oats all over again, to extremely sad tales of elderly parents not remembering they had children and wanting to go home to their Mothers.

A fabulous speaker, she had us laughing our heads off to then sitting in sad silence, it was a roller coaster of emotions to emphasise what a carer will go through looking after someone with dementia.

Dementia is an umbrella term for a variety of conditions that cause the brain to fail, Alzheimer’s disease represents the majority of cases.

This is how a person with dementia sees a clock face


People with dementia often experience problems with memory and thinking. Because they often cannot store new information efficiently, they use past experiences to make sense of the present. Music, photos and objects can help enhance memory gathering.

Libraries have a collection of Memory bags that can be borrowed. The bags contain local photographs, books, replicas of posters, labels and pictures plus smell bottles, music CDs and objects of the time.

Different themes include war, childhood, women, men, sporting life, housework, schooldays, leisure time and special events, holidays and working life.

Memory bag for help with dementia

Precise causes of Alzheimer’s or other dementia are not known. Most experts agree it is a combination of factors rather than a single cause. Individuals may be able to lower the odds of developing dementia by eating well, staying socially active and using the brain regularly.

If you would like to know more about dementia, it’s causes and how to spot the signs you can find more information here.

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Beating PTSD, from Afghanistan to Archery


How many times have we heard exercise is good for the mind as well as the body.  That’s all well but what if you want to exercise but you’re not into running, going the gym or don’t quite feel bendy enough for yoga.

Well, I’ve found a fab solution for all ages that is engaging, fun and helps build more than just muscle, ARCHERY!


A new club is up and running in Cheshire, Kyujutsu Archery runs from 12pm on Sunday’s at Brookvale Recreation Centre starting with taster sessions/beginners and leading through to experienced club members.

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Talk about it Tuesday – Revision stress

Revision stress is making my teen ill

This week my son is expected to stay at school till 5pm to sit another round of mock exams, I think this will be the third!

His school, which went into special measures over a year ago, is now apparently turning around and this years GCSE results will need to reflect this, but it seems to be to the detriment of the children.

On Friday we received a letter saying the resits will begin 18 jan, there has been no lead up to this, no instruction to my son on where he needs to focus extra revision to build on grades and he feels it is all a waste of time.

For the first time ever he has said he hates school, and this is from the boy who started pre-school with selective mutism and overcame it.

He is upset and says he doesn’t care about grades and results, but I think he is worried and being put under pressure from school.

We have decided he is not staying for the re-sits, instead we will focus on revision material at home.

And this is why…..

My husband, a counsellor, is concerned about the stress children are put under in order for a school to ‘look good’ in the school league tables. It is known the pressure of getting good GCSE results leads to an increase in the number of teenagers suffering mental health problems.  Combine this stress with other factors in a teenager’s life and depression, self-harm or eating disorders can result in some cases. The charity Young Minds discuss this and can offer support.

Not getting A’s in GCSE exams doesn’t mean the future is ruined, there are far more options for young people to study after high school and re-sit any subjects they want to take further, after all many exams and tests can be repeated through life, like my 3 driving tests.

So let’s encourage our young people to study and learn but not frighten them out of it with a fear of exam results.

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Parliamentary debate on Maternity Unit bereavement care

Did you see Cheshire MP Antoinette Sandbach addressing Parliament this week?  Speaking with tears rolling down her face she recounted the death of her 5 day old son and the lack of support available at this traumatic time.

Antoinette and MP Will Quince have opened a debate in parliament requesting the need for Bereavement care services in all Maternity Units. Having both suffered the loss of a child they spoke of their experience.

I had an opportunity to read a copy of the debate, Antoinette and Will spoke emotionality to the House of Commons, both having had very different experiences at their time of need.

Will and his wife were cared for by Colchester General Hospital in their dedicated Rosemary Suite, it is heartbreaking to read his account of events, of them knowing their son would be stillborn and praising the sensitivity and care given by Colchester Hospital. Having gone through this experience Will assumed every Maternity Unit had a bereavement suite, he was shocked to discover this was not true, and in fact in some cases the treatment of parents had been traumatic.

In Antoinette’s case there was no support and only a chance leaflet led to her receiving counselling from The Alder Centre, they say:
“It is important to slow down the decision making, to give parents the space in which to make informed decisions, it is vital to have that talking support with someone who can say to you it is alright, take your time.”

Antoinette cannot praise them enough for their care and support, but this service should be available in every Maternity Unit at time of need.

Fifteen babies die a day, and there are five deaths a week due to sudden infant death syndrome. That figure has been the same for the past 20 years.

Bliss outlines that 41% of neonatal units nationally say that parents have no access to a trained medical health worker, with 30% of neonatal units saying that parents have no access to any psychological support at all.

As the Government made a commitment to put Mental Health Services on an equal footing to physical health MP’s Antoinette and Will urge the Health Minister to follow The British Association of Perinatal Medicine advice that psychological support is available for parents who suffer a perinatal, stillbirth or infant death.

They have opened the debate, let’s see what happens.

If you’ve been affected by infant death you can find support here

 Sands  Lullaby Trust  Tommy’s