University of Bristol students’ 24-hour tennis marathon to support mental health

University of Bristol students completed a 24-hour tennis marathon to raise money for mental health services.

The marathon was part of the annual Ignit10n event, where more than 600 students take part in over 25 different sports and activities.

“I think showing solidarity for our fellow students is really important,” said Issy Hardy, Vice President of the University of Bristol Tennis Club.

“I know so many people who are affected by mental health issues, so to organise an event specifically for mental health shows students they have support from everyone in the university.”

The money raised will be used to provide more support to mental health facilities across the nine hospitals Bristol charity Above and Beyond support.

University of Bristol students reach the end of the marathon

A BBC study last year showed that the number of students seeking mental health support had risen by 50% nationally over the last five years.

In Bristol the number of students seeking support has risen by 106% in that five-year period.

A University of Bristol spokesperson said: “Mental health is fast emerging as one of the biggest public health issue affecting young people.

“We have made this a key priority at Bristol. Our recently launched mental health and wellbeing strategy aims to support our students’ wellbeing during their transition into university life and throughout their time with us, as well helping them build life skills and resilience to cope with the pressures they face.

“This has been developed in partnership with Universities UK (UUK) and Public Health England (PHE) and follows best-practice recommendations and the framework outlined by UUK.

“Part of this work on strengthening support during their transition into university includes an ‘opt-in’ policy, which encourages our students to allow us to include a third party, chosen by the student themselves, in discussions on their mental or physical health where we have significant concerns.”

Students took part in singles, doubles and wheelchair tennis throughout the marathon

Ignit10n has raised over £45,000 for Above and Beyond since the first event in 2014, and more than £4,700 so far this year.

“Five years ago they came to us and wanted to support Above and Beyond,” explained Edd Smith, Corporate and Communications Fundraising Manager for Above and Beyond.

“For us it’s massively important. The income that’s generated makes a big big difference to the communities of Bristol. You’ve also got the awareness raising, getting out there and telling people how they can raise money.

“Fundraising donors have always been considered to be from an older generation, but getting students involved in our work is hugely important.”

Challenges including all-night badminton and burrito biking ran for 10 hours, however, the tennis club wanted to challenge themselves.

“Tennis is quite a good one to do for 24 hours, because you can keep the ball rolling,” explained Issy.

“This year I’ve played for 10 hours, Jade who organised the event did a phenomenal run, starting at 11 last night and went on until 10:30 this morning.”

The students cheered when 10:30 came and the marathon had finished.

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