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The Gratitude Games launches to support the mental health of emergency service and NHS workers

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The Gratitude Games, a new sporting event to support the mental health of emergency service and NHS workers is today calling on the British public and businesses to donate to their fundraising appeal.

The first Gratitude Games will be hosted by the Cities of Manchester and Salford from 27th April – 29th May 2022 at leading venues, including the iconic Etihad campus. The Games will unite over 20,000 Emergency Responders and their families, across 20 different sports.

From the whole of the NHS and the Fire and Rescue Service to RNLI and Cave Rescue, workers from 17 different Emergency Services will be able to take part. The event will be open to all sporting abilities, and the triathlon and road running events (including a 5k and 10k), will also be open to the public.

The funds raised will be deployed through four existing specialist organisations – Police Care UK, The Fire Fighters Charity, The Ambulance Staff Charity and Duty to Care (NHS) - who collectively support all emergency responders to improve their mental health. Duty to Care, for example, provides NHS workers with free one-to-one online consultations. This is followed by wellbeing support including coaching, yoga and other holistic interventions.

The Gratitude Games is the brainchild of serving Buckinghamshire firefighter Mike Downard and sports industry veteran Simon Rider, who founded the charity UK Emergency Services Giving (UKESG) to help ensure every Emergency Responder has access to the tailored mental health support they need.

Commenting on the issues that drove him to develop the Gratitude Games as the key fundraising platform for UKESG, Downard said “In my 18 years as a fire fighter, I have seen first-hand the devastating impact that working on the front line can have on your mental health. You can be dealing with multiple traumatic events on a daily basis and that can really take its toll.

“The pandemic has affected the mental health of many, but especially those of us in the emergency services - so there is an urgent need to make sure the specialist support is readily available. To help make this a reality, we are calling upon the British public and businesses to get behind the Gratitude Games - by donating to the fundraising appeal and sharing the message of the Games to friends and family.”

Commenting on the launch of the Gratitude Games, Jonny Hamp, Director of Events at British Triathlon said: “The pandemic has shown more than ever how indebted we all are to the work of the emergency services in this country. The Gratitude Games are a great way for us to thank and support them for all they have done and continue to do, and we’re delighted that triathlon is part of the games.

“Being one of the sports open for mass participation, we’re really looking forward to seeing how the triathlon community and wider public get involved next year to swim, bike, run in aid of our amazing emergency service workers.”

The Gratitude Games will raise public awareness of the mental health challenges faced by so many of our Emergency Responders, whilst enabling people to show their appreciation for the essential work they do.

The 20 sports of the Gratitude Games are: Angling; Archery; Athletics; Badminton; Road Cycling; MTB Cycling; Equestrian; Golf; Karting; Laser Run; Lawn Bowls; Road Races (10K, 5K, 1.5K, Wheelchair); Rowing (Indoor); Shooting (Clay); Squash; Swimming; Tennis; Table Tennis; Ten Pin Bowling; Triathlon.

To donate to the fundraising appeal, please visit: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/gratitudegames

To find out more and register your interest, visit: www.gratitudegames.uk

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