THREE Wiltshire creative professionals in Wiltshire are getting set to embark on their first-ever marathon to raise money to support essential mental health services.

Nathan Baranowski, Jo Wren and Ben Veal will be running the virtual London Marathon on Sunday, October 3 to raise funds for the Charlie Waller Trust.

The Trust is one of the UK’s leading mental health charities, providing education, training and support to young people, teachers and parents.

The charity has experienced significant demand for its services during the course of the pandemic and the trio plan to give it a funding boost.

Nathan and Jo, of technology agency Digital Wonderlab, and Ben Veal of communications consultancy Second Mountain Comms, have all spent the past year supporting the charity professionally.

During the course of the national lockdowns, they have developed and launched a new website and content strategy, helping the charity to reach a growing audience via digital-first channels.

Mr Baranowski, managing director at Digital Wonderlab, said: “The Charlie Waller Trust is a leading light in positive mental health support for young people, and is at the forefront of conversations around depression, anxiety and mental health.

"The charity has big ambitions to positively reach and impact even more young people and their families as we begin to emerge from the pandemic, and fundraising has a big role to play in its ongoing journey."

"I’m looking forward to taking on a big personal challenge this year - running a marathon which is something I’ve longed to do for a long time - while helping to raise both money and awareness for the charity’s work.”

Mr Veal, founder of Second Mountain Comms, said: “Mental health support, education and training has never been more vital, and as we begin to transition and move towards 'new normal' life after our worlds have been flipped upside down, charities like the Charlie Waller Trust will need great support to be able to keep delivering their essential services to help those sorely in need.

"I've always wanted to tackle a marathon, but self-doubt has prevented me, until now. The events of the past 12 months have proved that we are all stronger and more resilient than we may have given ourselves credit for before; we shouldn't put off our goals and ambitions.”

Jo Wren, head of marketing at Digital Wonderlab, says: “We’ve had the privilege of working closely alongside the Charlie Waller Trust over the last year - and have seen firsthand the difference the charity has made, championing mental wellbeing through digital channels.

"The unexpected Covid-19 lockdown restrictions suddenly made the charity’s mental health support work more valuable and sought after than ever before - and the need for more positive conversations around mental health difficulties will drive the three of us towards the finish line of our marathon challenge.”

This is the first time that any of the trio will have ever run a marathon, despite it being on their individual ‘bucket lists’.

Due to the pandemic, this year’s London Marathon - which usually takes place in front of thousands of spectators in April, will now happen virtually in October. Runners are being asked to select their own route and log the distance and time taken to complete it.

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