Colleagues from M&S London stores walk the capital for YoungMinds

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A group of 15 M&S colleagues from several of the retailer’s London stores are joining forces to walk the equivalent of a marathon to raise awareness and much needed funds for those struggling with their mental health.

The 26-mile route starts and ends at M&S Islington and will pass by 18 M&S stores, including Tottenham Court Road, Notting Hill and Chancery Lane.

Colleagues will be joined by M&S leaders, as well as representatives from YoungMinds.

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The activity is part of a week-long Big ‘Fun-raiser’ launched by M&S this week. Over 360 stores are taking on fundraising challenges – from skydiving to fancy dress and cycling the equivalent of Lands End to John O’Groats. In addition, M&S colleagues in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast are also taking on similar 26-mile capital walks. Customers are able to donate in-store or via the M&S website here.

The M&S colleagues walked across the capital.The M&S colleagues walked across the capital.
The M&S colleagues walked across the capital.

M&S announced its partnership with YoungMinds in October last year, which aims to raise £5million over the next three years to support young people’s mental health.

This will enable YoungMinds to support seven million young people and the adults in their lives through easy to access online resources and its dedicated Parent’s Helpline.

To kick-start the partnership, M&S made a £1 million donation and the generosity of customers and colleagues has raised an additional £700,000 so far.

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Research commissioned last year by M&S and YoungMinds found that despite struggling with their mental health, 65% of young people hadn’t asked for any kind of formal support – 33% of those said they felt too embarrassed.

While loneliness was found to be the primary cause of mental health problems among young people surveyed, 61% of those waiting for mental health support said they had stopped attending school, college, university or work – risking greater isolation from their friends.

Victoria McKenzie-Gould, Corporate Affairs Director at M&S, said: “We have already smashed our initial fundraising target just eight months into our three-year partnership with YoungMinds. With £5 million our ultimate goal, we’re keeping that energy going by launching our Big Fun-raiser this week.

"I’ll be joining the marathon walk across London and I can’t wait to see what activities our stores have lined up. YoungMinds do incredible work and young people’s mental health is a hugely important cause. We’re proud to do our bit and with the help of our 32m customers and 64,000-strong M&S family – together, we’ve got this!”

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Laura Bunt, Chief Executive of YoungMinds, said: “Life is increasingly tough for young people and record numbers are in need of support for their mental health. When they’re able to access the help they need, things can get better, but the wait for support is often too long or the right support isn’t available. Together with M&S, we want to show young people that together we can turn things around. The incredible fundraising efforts by M&S will help us reach and support more young people and the adults in their lives.”

Last month, M&S also announced that 5p from the sale of every loaf in its Farmhouse loaf range would be donated to YoungMinds. The popular Farmhouse range is comprised of five different loaves and now has updated packaging to highlight the donation.

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