Positive Practice Awards
Positive Practice Awards

Willow Ward

Heads On Heroes


Twenty four miles, three peaks and some sore feet helped the team from Willow Ward raised more than £1,600 for Heads On.

A team from Willow Ward at the Hellingly Centre took on the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge earlier this year to raise funds for Heads On, our official charity. 

The 24 mile route involves 1,585 metres of ascent across the three peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, and it must be completed in under 12 hours. The team managed it in 11 hours 46 minutes.

As well as raising much needed funds to support projects at the Hellingly Centre, it brought the team together – nurses, support workers, domestic staff and psychologists all took part in the challenge. Willow Ward has gone from strength to strength over recent years and this just proves how strong the team has become.  

The idea for the challenge came one afternoon, when colleagues working the Sunday shift got talking about getting more active. As one person in particular had a passion for walking the conversation soon turned to taking on a challenge like the Yorkshire Three Peaks.  

Training walks included the Long Man of Wilmington in the snow, a picturesque hike across the Seven Sisters and a final 20 mile stroll from the Cuckmere River to Eastbourne seafront, and back again! 

Whilst some members of Willow Ward were not able to take part in the main challenge, many joined the training walks to show their support and help strengthen the bonds between the team.

As well as training, the team also organised two bake sales on the ward to get patients involved in their fundraising activities. The team used their online fundraising page to document their training. 

During their ascent of the Yorkshire Three Peaks, the team video called the ward so that patients could track their progress and show their support.

They set themselves a target to raise £1,000 and far exceeded this, raising more than £1,600 by the end of the challenge. The money will go towards Health in Mind, a new service based at Hellingly. It offers free support to anyone in East Sussex experiencing emotional or psychological difficulties such as stress, anxiety and depression. 

The nomination explained: ‘We were all over the moon to have made it, and although we all ached and were struggling to walk it was a massive achievement for us all. This challenge not only brought together all parts of our team, it has strengthened our bond and has only made our working dynamics even better! It is a memory that we will all cherish and we are already planning our next adventure!’