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Taking steps to raise vital charity cash

A group of dedicated young people who are hoping to raise £36,000 to fund a "life-changing" trip to an international mental health conference in Canada are planning a 20-mile sponsored walk to take them one step closer to the their target.

Members of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust's (NSFT) Youth Councils will walk from the Discovery Centre, in North Lynn, to the coast at Hunstanton, on Thursday 30 July.

Led by 20-year-old Jade Reed, the group are hoping to raise as much as possible towards the cost of attending the International Association for Youth Mental Health (IAYMH) conference, which takes place in Montreal, in October.

If they raise the money, they will work with local artists to create puppet versions of themselves which they will use to make a video explaining their experiences of mental ill health and what they get from working with the NSFT Youth Councils. The video will then be shown to delegates from across the globe during the three-day conference.

"I've never been abroad before so am really excited about the prospect of going to Canada," said Jade, who lives in King's Lynn and who recently joined the Norfolk Youth Council after using NSFT's services herself.

"I came up with the idea for the walk as I wanted to challenge myself. I've never done anything like this before and thought it would be a good way of pushing myself while raising some money at the same time.

"I only joined the Youth Council recently as I've been a service user myself and wanted to give something back. I'm enjoying it so far and really hope we are able to raise the money we need to get to the conference."

NSFT runs two Youth Councils – one in Norfolk, which has been established for some time, and another in Suffolk which was set up a year ago. A total of 16 members from both hope to attend the conference, and are now holding a variety of fundraising activities, including cake sales, quizzes and sponsored events.

Emma Corlett, young people participation lead with NSFT, said: "All of the young people in the youth councils are really pulling together and working as a team to raise funds for the trip, which really will be a life-changing opportunity for them all.

"They will gain a lot from the experience, including improved confidence, communication skills and team working. They will also be exposed to lots of new ideas and – most importantly – will hopefully have fun at the same time.

"We're really proud of Jade and her friends for taking on this challenge, and would be grateful to anyone who would like to support them by donating to our appeal."

The group will be in Montreal and Quebec from 6 to 15 October, and plan to visit a range of youth projects while in Canada as well as attending the conference.

Anyone who would like to sponsor Jade and her group or donate to the fundraising campaign can visit  ​