01689 851596

Improve your run – faster or further?

So you have started your training for a marathon, getting back into running, achieving a news years resolution or looking at how to make your runs better. You’ve now reached one of the ultimate running question; should you run faster or run for longer? And the answer really relies on why you’re running. Let’s look at some of the reasons why people run:

 

Marathons / Running for a cause

Competing in a marathon is a great way to keep motivated and fit. Marathons are 26.2 miles (42.2km), however the interest in half marathons and even quarter marathons have increased in recent years. Similarly, obstacle course events that feature inflatables, ice and even electrocution have gained popularity especially with office team building.

There are numerous training plans and training apps that can help you to complete the race regardless of whether you are new to running or how much time there is till the big day. The algorithms in most of these apps are designed to provide improvement in both your pace as well as your distance. Some training sessions would focus on getting you to sprint at a fast pace for a short period to work up your pace, while other training sessions involve long distance runs at a lower pace to build up your endurance.

The feeling of euphoria you get from completing a marathon that you’ve spent weeks or months preparing for is quite rewarding. That feeling would be even more satisfying if you’re taking part in the marathon for a worthy cause. And if you’re needing a good cause to run for, The Maypole Project is a not-for-profit organisation that relies solely on donations and fundraising events such as these marathons to help children with complex medical needs as well as their families. We provide free, ongoing and flexible support from diagnosis through to treatment and beyond.

Recommendation: Mix it up and use some days to run longer, while other days to run faster. Do try and use a trusted training program or app to help reduce risk of injury. TrainAsONE is an example of an Artificial-Intelligence app that constantly adjusts your training plan according to your running data and the goal you set with the aim of minimising injury.

 

Weight loss

Running burns more calories than most other types of exercise because it requires many different muscles to work hard together. In particular, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) involving running burns the most calories per minute by using various muscles at their maximum power[1].

It’s also true that you burn more calories the faster you run. You’ll additionally be burning more calories in your post run burn, referred to as EPOC or post-exercise oxygen consumption. With calories burnt for up to 3 hours after your run depending on distance and intensity.

Two things you’ll need to keep in mind is that your body starts to burn mainly fat after the 30 minute mark of a cardio session and the risk of injury increases as you increase the pace and intensity of your runs.

Recommendation: Try to push yourself to run for longer. You can run as slow or as fast as you can manage, you’ll just need to add more time to burn those calories. Aiming to run for over 30 minutes would be most beneficial for your goals. Increase your pace if you are struggling to fit the long runs into your schedule. You need to also remember that in order to lose weight your caloric intake needs to be lower than the calories you burn.

 

Improve physical and immune health

Running is an excellent way to keep your lungs and heart healthy, reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and improve overall health and wellbeing.

And what about Covid-19? Can running help your immune system to fight coronavirus? Running keeps your immune system in top shape, helping you fight viruses and infections. A 45-minute session of moderate intensity exercise can help increase immune cell levels, improve stress hormone levels and increase temperatures that may kill harmful bacteria and viruses[2]. An Epidemiological study showed that people who are active get significantly fewer upper respiratory tract infections per year than less-active people[3].

Running is also known to effectively slow or reverse the effects of aging[4]. In a recent study, researchers examined the effects of running in a study group and noticed increases in the length of the telomeres. Telomeres helps prevent damage to chromosomes that encode the cells’ genetic information. As we age, telomeres shorten, meaning chromosomes are more likely to get damaged[5].

Recommendation: Running at a comfortable pace while slowly increasing your distance will help to keep your body healthy. Do make sure you’re wearing the right footwear to help reduce physical injury, getting expert advice on which shoe is right for you will save you a lot of pain and money in the future.

 

Improve mental health

The mental health benefits you gain from running is remarkable which is why running is frequently recommended as therapy for people with clinical depression and people coping with addiction[6].

In a study published in Cerebral Cortex, the correlations of opioid binding (receptors that are involved in feelings of pain and pleasure) with euphoria ratings were measured in ten athletes after two hours of endurance running. The results showed that the level of euphoria was significantly increased after running and was inversely correlated with opioid binding. This process in turn released endorphins to the participants elating their mood significantly[7].

Sleep plays a crucial role in maintaining your mental health, and it’s no secret that running helps with increasing your sleep quality. In a study conducted to measure ease of getting to sleep and quality of sleep in participants in a study, it was clearly visible that an increase in physical activity improves sleep onset and increases sleep duration[8].

Recommendation: Running for longer but at a manageable pace will help reduce the risk of injury while still providing the mental health benefits. Use the extra distance to try different routes and explore your surroundings further. Make the longer runs more enjoyable and productive by playing your favourite podcasts or listening to an audio book.

 

Raising money for the Maypole Project

As mentioned earlier in the article, we are a not-for-profit organisation that relies heavily on funding from the community. Your support would make a significant difference to families that have children with a complex medical need. Click here to see upcoming events which you can join and train for. Alternatively, raise money your own way, at your own pace at home with our virtual challenges.

Hear from Karen, Family Support Co-ordinator

We provided support to families as we entered, endured and came out of lockdown and for some, who still remain shielded.

We understand that every families experience has been different, to quote “We are in the same storm but not the same boat”. Our unique packages of support have been tailored to each families needs, families experiencing many different struggles and seeing their children experiencing difficulties and many anxieties.

It has been noted that “The Maypole Project was the only form of consistent support”, our families and children received.  As a project we found ourselves adapting to new ways of working to meet the families needs, supporting families with remote counselling, children’s remote therapy sessions, advocacy to make sure families practical needs were being met such as arranging shopping and medication deliveries,  well being check-ins, activities and outings, and our virtual coffee mornings.

Our promise to families is that we are alongside them for however long they need us and we are striving to extend our services to meet their ever changing needs in our every changing world.

As an organisation we have learnt that through Face to Face and remote support that there is no family that is unreachable.

Karen, Family Support Coordinator 

 

Coronavirus Information

We’re working hard to respond to the current COVID-19 situation as and when it develops.

Children and families remain at the heart of our strategy and we will continue to work hard towards ensuring that our service continues in whichever way possible.

We will continue to adhere to the current Public Health England (PHE) and Government advice and take measures as needed to protect the best interests of our families, supporters, volunteers and staff.

Families

We will continue to follow advice from Public Health England (PHE) to ensure that children and families, as well as staff and volunteers protected as much as possible as lockdown measures are gradually and carefully lifted.

We’re working with each individual and family that we support or who have newly referred to our services to ensure that our services continue to be tailored to each of their unique needs.  This may involve continuation of on-line or phone support or activities or their views on planning towards re-adaptation to face to face meetings.   If you have any requirement that you would like to let us know or if you would like to talk to someone in our Support or Activities Team please call 01689 889889 or email helpline@themaypoleproject.co.uk

If you would like to talk to someone in our Support Team please call 01689 889 889 or email Helpline@themaypoleproject.co.uk

Supporters

Your support has never been needed more – Thank you so much for your continued support!
If you would like to fundraise for us, please check out our Fundraising page for more ideas.
If you require advice about the events you are organising, your own fundraising activity or events you are participating in, please contact our Fundraising Team by emailing fundraising@themaypoleproject.co.uk for further information. We will continue to keep in touch with any updates on fundraising activity.
Volunteers: Thank you for your commitment and understanding. Please wait to hear from your line manager about your particular area. We look forward to welcoming you back.
As lockdown measures ease, we are continuing to recruit to volunteer roles and more information can be accessed here.

Staff

Our valued staff are paramount to the continuation of our service and we are taking all necessary measures to ensure that we are able to deliver this safely and with minimal disruption throughout this period. We would like to thank our staff for their tireless commitment to the charity. THANK YOU!

We continue to need your support!

Families often tell us that services we offer at The Maypole Project are one of the only trusted ‘constants’ in their lives, helping them as they face uncharted territory, uncertainty and often the unknown. That is not changing in the short term. We will continue to be there to support them in their lives, in whatever way we can be of most help, by telephone, online or in other ways, for as long as is possible.

However, we continue to face a dramatic drop in our income. All large fundraising events for the foreseeable future are cancelled or postponed and we are in a world where we do not expect to be able to recover these sums easily. 100% of our income comes from the generosity of donors and we need these regular funds in order to keep The Maypole Project going.

For the vulnerable families to continue to benefit from our support we urgently need all the help we can get and, whilst we completely appreciate that this is a global issue and is affecting everyone personally too, our priority has to be to ensure that these families are supported by those of us that are able to give something.

Please donate

Statement from the Chief Executive of The Maypole Project on the Government proposals

The Maypole Project really welcomes the Governments offer of financial support for charities – a great development which acknowledges the VITAL role that charities play in society today.

However charities – of all sizes, but particularly small charities such as The Maypole Project are really concerned that the level of support is still far too low – falling short of the NCVO estimate of the need for £4bn funding loss across 12 weeks.

The Maypole Project’s Family Support Workers are front line workers in the Covid-19 crisis.   We believe that not only will there be a huge demand on this “pot” of money and a difficulty with allocation but whilst we will apply we are uncertain that our vital support work will actually qualify for this funding.

Whilst we work alongside hospices – we will not qualify for the children’s hospice grant.  Our package of professional psychological and social support designed to each family, does not appear to meet the criteria.

All of the families The Maypole Project support through therapies, groups and activities have children in palliative care or children who have very complex medical needs.  This means that their children are medically fragile and this makes them extra-ordinarily vulnerable to Covid-19.    These families who are already already anxious, stressed and fearful, are now facing heightened fear and anxiety.  The unthinkable death of their child becomes more real, they face additional emotional vulnerability of  their children and whole family through this crisis.     The respite of school, and other services, has mostly disappeared.  Families are in “lockdown” together exacerbating already stretched family relationships.   Travel to hospital settings for essential treatments must continue; creating complications for the whole family.  Isolation – always an issue to be addressed – becomes more real as they are separated from extended family and the community that can support them.

The Maypole Project has adapted ALL of it’s services to online provision; our team consistently alongside them as the trusted professional they have learnt to rely on.  This not only gives them a focus but also relieves the pressure on the NHS team knowing that we are there for them.

We have taken action to make cost savings available, furloughing over 60% of our staff, including key fundraising team.

We cannot furlough our support staff as we know that our support MUST continue; furlough means they cannot even volunteer to support families.  However, without a significant injection of financial support this may not be able to continue.

Whilst fundraising has dropped by more than 80% – our new crisis appeal is really helping and we thank our donors for their ongoing support.  This, though we believe is a Government issue and we plea with them to make the necessary creative adjustments to this package of funding to support The Maypole Project and similar charities who will otherwise have to stop services immediately – and families in crisis in absolute despair.

Statement regarding Covid-19

An open letter from Sally, our CEO, on COVID-19

 

We are (as are many others) facing unique times and the massive concern is that The Maypole Project will not be able to continue to support families who have a child/young person with a complex medical need or SEND.

We urgently need your help.

Families often tell us that services we offer at The Maypole Project are one of the only trusted ‘constants’ in their lives, helping them as they face uncharted territory, uncertainty and often the unknown. That is not changing in the short term. We will continue to be there to support them in their lives, in whatever way we can be of most help, by telephone, online or in other ways, for as long as is possible.

However, we now face a dramatic drop in our income. All large fundraising events for the foreseeable future are cancelled or postponed and we are in a world where we do not expect to be able to recover these sums easily. 100% of our income comes from the generosity of donors and we need these regular funds in order to keep The Maypole Project going.

For the vulnerable families to continue to benefit from our support we urgently need all the help we can get and, whilst we completely appreciate that this is a global issue and is affecting everyone personally too, our priority has to be to ensure that these families are supported by those of us that are able to give something.

Please donate 

The Coronavirus situation is rapidly changing and we are working hard to respond to the current situation. Here’s what we are doing to ensure we respond to the needs of our children, supporters, staff and volunteers.

Children, young people and families remain at the heart of our strategy and we will be working hard to ensure that our service continues.

We will heed current Public Health England (PHE) and Government advice and take measures as needed to protect the best interests of our families, supporters, volunteers and staff.

Families

We are following all current advice from Public Health England to ensure all children, families, staff, volunteers and visitors are aware and protected as much as possible at this time.

The Coronavirus situation is rapidly changing and we are working hard
to respond to the current situation. We will keep you as regularly updated as possible and meanwhile here is what we are doing to ensure we respond to the needs of our children, supporters, staff and
volunteers.

Please note that all members of staff and volunteers are now working
remotely and in this in order to ensure we receive your messages please use our email addresses as we will be concerned not to be able to pick up phone messages.

Please bear with us whilst we work on this and thank you in advance for your patience.

Please contact helpline@themaypoleproject.co.uk for more information

Supporters

Thank you for your continued and much valued support.

If you require advice about the events you are organising, your own fundraising activity or events you are participating in, please contact our Fundraising Team via email fundraising@themaypoleproject.co.uk and we will be pleased to offer support as best we can.

Unfortunately we have already had to postpone or cancel some events and seen some decline in giving. We believe the impact on our income will be significant. 

All large fundraising events for the foreseeable future are cancelled or postponed (including our two flagship events) and we are in a world where we do not expect to be able to recover these sums easily.

For the vulnerable families to continue to benefit from our support we urgently need all the help we can get and, whilst we completely appreciate that this is a global issue and is affecting everyone personally too, our priority has to be to ensure that these families are supported by those of us that are able to give something.

We need you now more than ever before!

Click here to DONATE

Volunteers

The health and wellbeing of our volunteers is at the forefront of our minds during the current situation surrounding Covid-19.  As an organisation we understand that there is a lot of uncertainty and worry around the virus and we would like to assure you that we are doing everything that we can to minimise risk to all of our children, young people, families, volunteers and staff.

As part of these measures, we would like to strongly suggest those who are in the at risk category (anyone in older age groups, and all those with underlying health conditions) take a break from their volunteering role.

Please do keep in contact with your line manager/supervisor during this time. Many thanks for your commitment and understanding.

Staff

Our valued staff are paramount to the continuation of our service and we are taking all necessary measures to ensure that we are able to deliver this safely and with minimal disruption throughout this period.  We would like to thank our staff for their tireless commitment to the charity. THANK YOU!

Aiming for Volunteering Excellence

Volunteers are integral to the work of The Maypole Project. Alongside offering their time, they bring a wealth of experience, knowledge and skills to the organisation which we value highly. With this in mind, we want every volunteer who walks through our door to have a positive experience of volunteering with us, from the time they enquire to the time to leave us. To achieve this, we need to continuously look at how we can develop our volunteering programme to meet the needs of volunteers.

A very important part of this process is listening to our existing volunteers and getting feedback about their experience of volunteering with us.  This invaluable information helps us understand what we are doing well and where we can improve.

To start this conversation, in July, we sent out our annual volunteer satisfaction survey to all our volunteers who volunteer regularly and/or have been with us for at least a few months. We had a great response with over half of our volunteers completing the survey. And overall, the results are very positive with a large percentage of volunteers rating our volunteer management processes and procedures as excellent or good. Also, 96% feel that their volunteering has met their expectations and feel they are a valued member of the team.

These results are very encouraging and the feedback we received has offered us an insight into where we could improve as well. We will be looking at this in more detail over the next few months.

The process doesn’t stop there though. We also hope to continue to give volunteers a voice and an opportunity to play a part in the development of volunteering at The Maypole Project by starting a Volunteer Forum. This forum will be a space where volunteers can provide ongoing feedback on their volunteering experience and also provide an opportunity for us to consult with volunteers on new volunteer developments and projects.

These insights will be invaluable in informing our volunteer plans going forward so we can continuously improve the quality of our volunteering programme and realise our ambitions to make The Maypole Project an excellent place to volunteer.

Running and Me

In this blog Phil, Activities Co-ordinator at The Maypole Project, talks about running and the benefits to your  health not only physical but mental and how running for a good cause can keep you motivated when the going gets tough!

 

I guess I have run all my life, one way or another. From running round the playground in my junior school to running, tackling and try scoring on a rugby field, there has always been some kind of association to it.  In recent years I have really started taking on various different distances from 5k fun runs dressed as Santa and taking on giant inflatable obstacle courses. To some really large extreme distances, the largest of them all being back in 2016 where I ran 184 miles along the Thames over 3 days. All of these runs obviously have, had beneficial health and physical benefits for myself and so have been great at keeping me physically fit and they have always been used to fundraise for The Maypole Project.

But I have only recently started thinking about what running has meant for my mental health. I’ve always found that running, jogging or walking distances has made me very robust and determined and I think a lot of why this is, is because I have had a cause to run for. Having a goal of raising money for such a worthwhile charity, whenever I have taking part in any organised distance runs has really helped me complete them. As whenever the going got tough I would just grit teeth think about the families that The Maypole Project support and families that I have worked with and got my head down stopped moaning and just kept going. Knowing that the funds coming in for the run I was doing would help keep this fantastic support going.

But I think it goes a lot further then that as when I stop to actually think about how I feel when I run and what it does for my mind It’s when I really realise running is my therapy and how I deal with a lot of my emotions from my day. I am lucky to be able to still find the time to  run most days and when I am out running I am just fully focussed on that moment in time nothing else really. It’s my time (and as a father to a one year old now) It’s a precious time for me. This has giving me even more of a sense of how precious the time that the Maypole Project support offers our families is. I find that whilst I’m out I de-stress I can leave the office or my home with a face of thunder or grumpy as hell but after any time spent just running I come back calm and de-stressed (if a little knackered). I find also how that time spent outside breathing in the air taking in the sunshine (if it’s out) can also have a really creative way in the way I’m thinking. And I find that this is really when I am sometimes at my most creative.

Running as a whole has I think really helped me become the person I am now and really shaped the way I am both physically, emotionally and mentally. Running as a sport is not for everyone but there is something out there for everyone to help them cope de-stress and have just a moment of calm and just have a break. It could be Art, it could be dancing. It could be coming and speaking to a therapist or just coming to one of the many support activities that The Maypole Project provide.

Whatever it is it’s hugely important to take a moment to do it.

 

MENTAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF RUNNING

1. STRESS RELIEVE

Whatever you are stressing about, getting active can significantly reduce this. Putting on your trainers can help with relaxation, anxiety and negative thinking . Running can help your body control stress and deal with existing mental tension. Longer distance runs can give you the time to help solve problems. Whilst shorter distances  can really help reduce tension.

2. SLEEP

Taking part in any physical exercise, whether that is running or another form, can be your new way of counting sheep at night. Moderate exercise can also significantly improve the sleep of insomnia sufferers.

3. DECREASES DEPRESSION

Running can be a fantastic way of combatting that sluggish and withdrawn feeling that is associated with depression. Regular exercise can boost your mood if you have depression, and it’s especially useful for people with mild to moderate depression. Running can take your mind off worries so you can get away from the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression and anxiety

4.Boosting Self Esteem

Exercise releases feel-good endorphins, natural brain chemicals that can enhance your sense of well-being. Exercising  outdoors can also result in lowered blood pressure and increased self-esteem.

5. Increased Creativity

Going for a runrun can boost creativity for up to two hours afterwards. As I’ve mentioned I find running is when I am at my most creative and have my most creative thoughts. Whether it’s thinking on hay to solve a problem or what my next running and fundraising event will be for The Maypole Project. So next time you find your are sitting around waiting for that eureka moment to happen take yourself out for a run.

So if you think that you may want to start up running do it, remember all the benefits your body will enjoy from getting active as well as the mental health benefits as well. And if you feel like you would like to run on behalf of The Maypole Project we have plenty of places in any type of distance and for any ability. Just follow this link to see what places we have. 

 

An update from our CEO

Please see below an update from Sally Flatteau Taylor (CEO) regarding
The Maypole Project’s planned short breaks activities in Royal Borough
of Greenwich

“The Maypole Project’s ACTIVITIES provision offer in Greenwich is to families with
children with disabilities AND their siblings. The design of our proposed short breaks provision to Royal Borough of Greenwich for Summer 2019 was created to suit a wide range of abilities as “targeted” services.

Our proposal was unfortunately understood as “specialist” service provision

and neither party noted this mismatch prior to the publication of the short breaks brochure.  After much reshaping of the offer from
ourselves to fit the specialist provision and recruiting and training
a fantastic team to support the work, we could not reach an
agreement for this provision with RBG which meant that our negotiations to the contract
were unfortunately closed.
We do however continue to offer our therapies and activities to families in the
borough of Greenwich.  Whilst these are currently nearly fully subscribed
if you are, or know of a family who would benefit from our
services please do contact us for information”

Reflecting on the valuable contribution of our trustees

This week is Trustee Week and a chance for The Maypole Project to celebrate the valuable contribution our trustees make to the charity.

Our current Board of Trustees includes some passionate and dedicated individuals who bring a wealth of experience to the organisation, whether that is from a personal or professional perspective. They give their time voluntarily to share the important job of governing the charity, directing how it is managed and, ultimately, make sure we are doing what we were set up to do.

Such an important role, often unseen to the outside world, is not only a crucial part of ensuring we meet our responsibilities as a charity but also is key to helping us develop both our existing services and new services so we can reach out to as many families as possible.

We can’t thank them enough for their passion and dedication to supporting our work and look forward to another successful year of working together.

Below our Trustees give us a little insight into what being a Trustee means to them:

Julie Froggatt

I joined the Board of Trustees in 2015 and have been in the role of Chair for a couple of years.  For me, what The Maypole Project offers is unique, and makes such a tangible difference for so many families.  I am constantly amazed – and energised – by the determination and sense of fun of the families I come into contact with – in the face of often great adversity – and feel that I gain as much from my involvement with The Maypole Project as I give. I am proud to work with a great Board, and look forward to playing a part in the Project’s future development.

John Smedley

I decided to become a Trustee after being made aware of the great work The Maypole Project does from a work colleague of mine.  I really enjoy being a part of the Maypole family and find my role as Trustee motivational, interesting and fun.  I get to see and hear about all the things the charity is doing to help people – and there are so many things.  The sheer enthusiasm shown by everyone involved with the charity is truly inspiring.

Leila Seeney

I joined The Maypole Project Board of Trustee’s in 2016 because I wanted to contribute my professional skills to running of the charity and offer a parents’ perspective to the Board. I have a passion for helping children affected by disability and their families. I find the role rewarding and satisfying and I was initially surprised at quite how much work goes into the running of a charity! I feel privileged to be on the Board of Trustees.

If you’d like a rewarding and interesting role that lets you give back to your local community, we currently have a vacancy on our Board of Trustees for a Treasurer – click here for more information