In September, hundreds of people came together for Beat’s Walk & Talk events in London and Manchester. But did you know you can organise your own Walk & Talk wherever you are in the UK? Fundraiser Noor did exactly that, gathering friends old and new together in the Botanic Gardens in Glasgow for an honest and refreshing afternoon stroll in aid of Beat. Here, she shares her top tips and reasons for supporting Beat.
Why did you want to organise a Walk & Talk?
I don’t think enough is being done to raise awareness about eating disorders in Scotland – many people struggle with one and they continue feeling alone and not understood. I wanted to change that, but didn’t quite know how. The idea of organising a Walk & Talk in Glasgow was suggested to me by a friend, who researched some UK walks and told me that, although nothing was planned in my area, I could plan something myself. So I started organising my first Walk & Talk for Beat!
Why are you supporting Beat?
I know how far their work goes to help someone with an eating disorder, or someone supporting a loved one. I want to make sure they are always able to provide that support to every single person who needs it. I am also trying to spread the word about Beat in Scotland. Everyone deserves to know there is support out there, and everyone deserves to know how to access that support.
How did you get started with planning your event?
The first thing I did was download the fundraising pack, contact Beat, and write down possible dates and what I would need to get and do. Gradually, the event started to look like a soon-to-be reality and less like an impossible but very nice idea.
How did you get the word out about your walk?
I set up a Just Giving page and shared it on Facebook, my friends shared it on theirs, and I also sent it privately to friends and family. My university shared the event on their Twitter page. Beat also shared photos and my Just Giving page before and after on Facebook and Twitter.
What happened on the day?
I was joined and supported by my close friends. Later lots of people walking around the gardens came by. We had children, families, couples and people who are currently struggling with an eating disorder themselves. The response to the event and all the Beat decorations was extremely positive – it attracted some people who have been helped by Beat and they were really glad more people know and are spreading the word about Beat today. We got lots of encouraging messages about how we should keep doing what we’re doing, because it’s a shame people still don’t talk openly about mental health.
As the event progressed, I realised people were popping in more than gathering for a walk, so my event turned into more of an open discussion. We educated people on eating disorders, engaged in interesting conversations, and I provided some people with support services’ contact details. We even got to witness the loving, pure relationship children have with food.
What are your top tips for anyone thinking of organising a Walk & Talk for Beat?
What did you get out of organising your event?
The chance to give back to a community that is constantly giving to me – I think that is really important. It was really heartwarming to see all the kids come up willing to learn about eating disorders and unconditionally love and support anyone struggling with them. I raised over £300 but for me the stories I got to hear and the chats we had with people were the most valuable thing of all. Knowing I helped make someone’s world a little bit brighter makes me happy and eager to continue doing what I’m doing.
What’s next for you?
My goal is to continue fundraising for Beat through more events like bake sales on campus, creative fundraising ideas, perhaps another Walk & Talk and even setting up a stall in my university’s fresher’s fair next year where new students who are struggling with an eating disorder can pop in for an idea of where to access the right support. I have also applied to become a Campus Rep for Beat at the University of Glasgow, and hopefully that takes me one step closer to becoming a Beat Ambassador!
Feeling inspired? Get in touch with the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.