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Beat staff take to the skies

This Saturday is The Big Jump, an event that will see people skydiving for Beat all across the country! Community Fundraising Officer Andrea has been busy raising money for her skydive along with seven other members of the Beat team and dozens of brave fundraisers, and she took the time to answer a few questions for anyone who might be curious about skydiving themselves!

What’s the Big Jump all about? With World Mental Health Day taking place on 10 October, we wanted to create a national gesture of support for everyone affected by eating disorders, to raise funds for Beat’s work and encourage awareness. We know that lots of people have thought about taking part in a skydive before, so jumping with likeminded people on the same day can be a great reason for them to take the plunge and sign up! So far we’ve got forty people jumping at airfields all over the UK – that includes eight members of the Beat team jumping too!

What made you want to take part? I’ve been inspired by the hundreds of brave fundraisers I’ve worked with, who have faced their fears to help others find support for eating disorders. Their bravery is amazing, not only in leaping 10,000ft out of a plane, but also in sharing their personal experiences to combat the stigma and secrecy around these misunderstood mental illnesses. So I wanted to skydive to show solidarity with them, and of course raise much needed funds for Beat’s essential services. A little bit of peer pressure played a role too – thanks to my fellow Community Fundraising Officer Emily who signed me up!

How did you raise money for your Big Jump? I created a Just Giving page, which I shared with friends and family alongside updates and news from Beat. My skydive will be my second fundraising challenge this year, following a coast to coast cycle I completed in September. I found that sharing training updates beforehand and photos after the challenge really got people donating. I was absolutely astounded by how generous people were, particularly colleagues and Beat supporters who saw the link in my email signature! I never expected to raise over £500 and am so grateful to all my donors.

Lots of people might want to try skydiving to raise for Beat but feel a bit nervous – what’s your advice? It’s normal to be nervous about a skydive – it really does take you out of your comfort zone. But remember that your instructor has done literally thousands of tandem jumps before, so you’re in the safest of hands. And think how liberating it could be to face that fear – lots of people have found parallels between skydiving and escaping the grip of an eating disorder, so drawing on your own passion and experience can give you the courage you need to do it. Finally, recruiting a brave friend to jump with you who can give you a boost of courage is very helpful!

If people have missed out on the Big Jump, what’s the best way for them to take part in a skydive at a later date? You can skydive for Beat at airfields all over the UK on a date of your choice. You can order a free information pack and book here, choose your airfield and preferred dates, then raise a minimum of £395 and all your jump costs will be covered by Beat. When you sign up, you’ll be sent a Beat T-shirt and fundraising pack to help you smash your target. Although raising £395 might seem daunting at first, the donations will soon fly in.