Paul’s giving back by tackling a series of challenges in 2019
MPI’s Paul Alcock is part way through a series of gruelling challenges to help support two mental health charities who’s support have had a profound impact on himself and his family over recent years.
A statistic that’ll you’ll probably have heard recently is that one in four people in the UK are now predicted to experience a mental health problem each year.
Mental health has long played second fiddle to physical health in terms of general understanding and medical provision but thanks to organisations like Mind and campaigns such as last month’s Mental Health Awareness Week, it is finally starting to get the focus it needs.
As the wellbeing champion within the MPI team that’s something that Paul wants to encourage more of here at Castle Brom.
So much so, that when he decided to set himself a challenge to raise funds and awareness he decided that a one off activity wouldn’t quite cut it. So instead the dad-of-two teenage daughters decided to make a year of it.
“I was asked to pull together a presentation on wellbeing and the process of doing it made me realise that I perhaps hadn’t been paying as much attention to my own wellbeing as I would have liked, “ said Paul.
“I’m a keen cyclist and consider myself fit but reflecting on the last year I realised that I’d been turning down opportunities to get involved in things like the Wolf Runs and a coast to coast cycle event with my friends.
“I think I’d fallen into that trap where I was telling myself that I was way too busy and just didn’t have time between work and home life commitments to fit it in. When I worked it out, I hadn’t been out on my bike or the golf course anywhere near as much as I’d have liked either.
“I felt I needed to walk-the-walk rather than just talking about wellbeing, so I set myself a challenge. I knew if I just set one thing then it would come and go and then I’d be back in the same space, so I’ve set myself a series of them spread out over the year to really commit to improving my fitness and wellbeing over a longer period of time.”
The 46-year-old has already completed two of these challenges, the first was the half marathon in his home town of Coventry and the second was last month’s Birmingham and Midlands Velo, a 100 mile cycling sportive (see pg. 10 for all the CB entrants).
As well as upping his personal fitness, Paul is using these challenges as a way to support two charities that he is very close to and who’s great work have had a huge impact on his family.
“A number of years ago my youngest daughter went through a period of social anxiety at a very early age that really developed and didn’t get any easier as she went into her teenage years,” said Paul.
“What started as a desire to understand more and support our daughter turned into a passion to help others and my wife made the decision to leave her career in sales and marketing and retrained over four years to become a Therapeutic Counsellor.
“During her career transition my wife worked at the Coventry and Warwickshire Mind charity for the IAPT referral service and we’ve become quite close to the organisation as a family.
“Mind are kind of on the fridge of NHS funding and whilst they get some support, the charity needs to raise all the shortfall themselves, so I know any money I raise will be much appreciated”
The other charity Paul is raising money for is the Automotive Industry support service BEN.
“Since my wife set herself up as an independent Therapeutic Counsellor
(Just Being Human Counselling) she has worked on behalf of BEN supporting people from the car industry.
“There’s something kind of poetic in the fact she’s now able to use her skills to support people from the industry that has supported us as a family for over 21 years.
“Again, anything I can raise for them I know will be put to good use.”
So now back onto the challenges…
Next up for Paul is a Three Peaks 24 hour event that he’s taking part with a group of friends at the start of July, born just a stone’s throw away from the foot of Mount Snowdon in North Wales this one is taking Paul back to his roots.
Following that there’s a 15,000ft skydive that’s almost 20 years in the making. He hasn’t got the best track record with heights having once fallen from a ladder which resulted in a now thankfully mended broken back.
Over the year’s Paul has attempted to complete the jump a couple of times but was initially stopped by bad weather and when he returned he found the airfield boarded shut as the company had gone into administration.
Perhaps someone was trying to tell him something?
The final event and the big one is an Olympic Triathlon at the end of September, billed as the UK’s second largest it takes place in Kent’s Hever Castle.
“This one’s the biggy,” Paul continued.
“I’ve never done a triathlon before and the thought of jumping into open water with thousands of others kicking and splashing then swimming 1500m is all a bit nerve wracking.
“The swim part is probably the bit about the whole year of challenges that I’m dreading the most. I’m sure though, that when I’m in the thick of it the thought that I’m supporting these causes that have provided such great support to my family will keep me going.
“My daughter is in a really good place now and I’m thankful for the support she’s had along the way. She’s sitting her exams this week and despite suffering a panic attack during her first one she’s deploying the coping strategies she’s developed and is currently back in there doing her chemistry exam as we speak. I couldn’t be more proud of her.”
Paul has self-funded all the activities so that all the money he raises goes to the charities – if you’d like to show your support to either you can go to his Just Giving page