Pedalling The Pond: Helping Mental Health Sufferers Seek Help

In 2018, four friends decided to Pedal The Pond in aid of The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust. Not only were they the first people to ever cross this particular part of the Atlantic by pedal power alone, but through various fundraising events and platforms, the Pedal The Pond boys raised over £170,000 for the cause and raised awareness around the world.

1. How did you end up working with charities/this charity?

Henry, Max, Paddy and I decided in 2016 that we would pedalo across the Atlantic in January 2018. If successful we would be the first people to ever cross this particular part of the Atlantic by pedal power alone and by doing so reinvent ocean crossings. Crucially the whole expedition was in aid of the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust. CWMT was started in memory of a young man who took his own life due to depression in his late twenties. When Charlie’s parents tell you that he may still be here today if people’s abilities to spot signs of depression were better, it makes you realise exactly why immediate action needs to be taken.

2. What has been the most rewarding part of your experience? 

Meeting some of the people that we have and will help indirectly through our fundraising. In addition, spreading the great work of the charity and helping them break down barriers with perception of mental health. Especially targeted at males in our age demographic, 18-35. As biblical as the timing sounds; we achieved our goal of pedalling the Atlantic after 40 days and 40 nights. We experienced sun and rain, 30 knot winds and 0 knot winds, 50 foot waves and seas as flat as a mill pond and that was just the weather. Our (virtually untested) system was problematic to say the least. Taking apart gearboxes - in the pitch black - with waves crashing over the deck, tested both our brains and our friendships. Both stayed strong however, and we have been amazed at how much you can really achieve if you stick together. What has been a constant throughout the trip is support from every single one of our supporters. The trip would never have been possible without them and together we have not only achieved something that has never been done before, but we have raised over £170,000 for the amazing Charlie Waller Memorial Trust. This money will really go a long way into educating young and old across the country about Mental Health and will ultimately lead to saving peoples lives. We will never forget the feeling of crossing that finish line, but without our family, friends and supporters, we would have never got there.

3. How do you see technology influencing fundraising at your charity?

I think technology is a huge positive for various reasons: 1. It allows the charity greater access and pull to people who need their help through various platforms. 2. It also works on the reverse - technology allows people to reach out informally where they might have been too scared to do so before. 3. With the CWMT - who work closely with schools and universities - it has allowed them to develop interactive games & videos for children at school and to educate and monitor their mental health. In addition, CWMT have implemented a research programme at Reading University - where data is pooled and collected via various tech platforms. 4. Lastly, technology has allowed us to raise more funds through innovative fund raising techniques which weren't previously available. Such as Crowdfunding, portable card machines - such as TapSimple - and also interactive iPads for silent auctions. All helping to pull in cash, in a society where cash is no longer king.

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