At a time of social distancing and working from home, Reach staff in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland came together to “virtually” walk the coastal distance of the island of Ireland as part of a Mental Health Awareness Week initiative which also supported the two health services in the north and south in the fight against coronavirus.
While staff across Reach’s three offices in Belfast, Cork and Dublin got their steps in back in May to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, the company did its bit this week by making monetary donations to NHS Charities Together and to the HSE through the Mater Foundation, which has joined with a group of Ireland’s leading Hospitals in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Cavan to support frontline workers.
‘Smile for a Mile’ was the brainchild of Reach’s Head of Development Laura Hennessy who organised the week-long initiative during the peak of the coronavirus outbreak “to foster physical and mental health benefits [amoung staff] while also ensuring the team felt connected during what has been a difficult time.”
“We wanted to build on our team spirit by creating a collaborative feeling that required a big team effort and knowing our health services would also benefit was the only incentive we needed”, she said.
“The target distance was 1,448km and the team collectively managed 1,951km in the end – a goal that could not have been achieved by one person but only by the endeavors of our entire team across our three offices.”
Over the course of the week, participating staff members entered the number of steps they individually walked each day into a tracker which then calculated the total distance walked, plotted on an interactive map of Ireland that the staffers could check each day to keep them motivated towards achieving their target.
Tom Hickey, who is Head of Fundraising and Communications for The Mater Foundation said: “We are so grateful for the support shown by Reach to the Mater. Each donation has a direct impact on our team working on the frontline, and on our most vulnerable patients. It has been a difficult few months, and as our hospital moves towards its Covid Recovery phase, our doctors, nurses and medical staff must continue to care for patients with Covid-19 and many other with life-threatening conditions. The support shown by Reach will help the Mater recover and rebuild, allowing staff to give every patient the best care possible.”