Publish date: 2 October 2023

Local mental health staff swapped their welly boots for walking boots to raise money for local NHS charity, Headlight.

Walking 23 miles across the Cheddar Valley and Blackdown Hills, staff from Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP) raised £1,252 for its charity Headlight. The money will specifically be used to support the Speedwell Recovery Allotment Group which is part of a recovery project led by The Trust.

The Recovery Allotment Group is one of the many nature-based health interventions that AWP offers its service users, as part of its wider green care service. It hosts weekly groups for service users to take part in gardening, crafts and woodworks projects. The team will use the money raised from the walk to expand the allotment project, then establish a second plot and pay for materials such as seeds, compost and tools.

Walking in 29 degree sunshine one day, and thunderstorms the next, the group of 12 walked for around eight hours each day - and even camped overnight – on the second weekend of September.

Recovery Allotment Co-ordinator, Bekki Pugh said: “The Speedwell allotment project brings together a variety of people who are all going through their own mental-health struggles. It reduces social isolation and gives people a place to be and a place to talk, all whilst connecting with nature.”

Bekki added: “The walk was amazing, everyone got something out of it and it was a chance for us to connect with nature on a personal, social and ecological level. The walk was successful because not only have we raised money for the allotment group and have raised the profile of the project.”

As well as expanding the project to a second allotment, the team are also seeking sponsorship to allow them to clear a space for a covered structure, which would let them continue into the winter months. This would offer much-needed support for those with mental health illness. Anyone wishing to sponsor the project can contact the charity Headlight on

To find out more about the allotment project, the charity walk and make a donation click here.