Hack out to help out is the message promoted by the trail-hunting community as lockdown ends, to raise funds and awareness for a suicide prevention project.
Hunts are encouraging their supporters and other riders to join the countrywide initiative, by riding five miles and donating £5 to the Tomorrow Project, using the hashtag #HackOut2HelpOut.
Quorn hunt joint secretary Nicola Housley came up with the idea.
“This year has been particularly difficult for huge numbers of people so it is wonderful to see the trail-hunting community pulling together to support those who are finding it particularly difficult and we hope that the funds we all raise can help to make a difference,” she said.
Countryside Alliance head of hunting Polly Portwin welcomed the fundraising idea, while reminding participants to abide by national and local coronavirus restrictions.
“We are delighted to support this initiative and want to encourage as many people as possible to donate after riding five miles — at their own pace and in their own time — either on their own or with friends,” she said.
“At this critical time we urge all those taking part to continue to be Covid-compliant by abiding by the relevant rules for the specific tier or country they live in.”
Tomorrow Project chief executive Caroline Harroe set up her scheme in 2012 in response to the high rate of suicide in her rural community.
“Prior to this there were few services responding to this critical need,” she said. “Since then we have grown in size and stature but at our core remains the commitment and drive to engage with rural and farming communities for whom mental health and suicide remain a real issue.
Asked for his secret to long life, the 90-year-old said: “Good food, good health, good Lord and good friends.”
‘If you took him on a hunt ride and hounds weren’t there, he’d get really cross’
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“We know there are many issues impacting people in rural communities: seasonal roles, financial tensions, isolated working schedules and reduced access to services are just some of them.
“We will continue to work rurally. If you give us space, we will pop up a rural support shed and offer help; if you support us financially, we can help more people, and if you spread the word, we can hopefully reach the ears of someone that needs us.”
Anyone who does not have access to a horse or pony can walk, run or cycle the five miles, or just donate.
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