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Mental Health First Aid instructor Allison Garbutt recently completed her groundbreaking "trainathon" initiative, training over 100 people in Mental Health First Aid skills over the course of 3 days to raise money for mental health charity Mind. The project formed part of WH Smith's 225th anniversary celebrations.

Allison described the structure for the project, and reflected on the importance of looking after her own wellbeing as she approached the challenge: "Normally we train a maximum of 16 people a day in one session - for this "trainathon" I am aiming to lead 6 sessions in 3 days and train over 100 people. We use the brilliant materials from Mental Health First Aid for the training so I am optimistic that I can do this, but I need to make sure that I prepare properly and have a good plan to look after myself as well as all of my trainees."

Alison successfully completed the "trainathon" in November, with 102 delegates trained in Liverpool, Swindon and Slough in 3 days. So far she's managed to raise over £2,000 in funding for Mind, and had amazing feedback from her delegates. 

It wasn't all smooth sailing! As with any course, there were some unexpected challenges. "My first venue turned out to have no power sockets (they had been stripped out!) - fortunately, the station manager had a much longer extension cable than the one I had brought with me so I got over that problem, but then had to go out and buy some camping chairs, as there were not enough chairs for the delegates!"

Despite a few bumps on the road, Alison was pleased to have achieved her goal, and more than doubled her fundraising target. "I am really looking forward to a bit of a more standard week in the office, but I will never forget this experience."

Our congratulations to Alison for her amazing achievement, and her tireless work to spread the word about Mental Health First Aid training.

If you'd like to donate to Alison's fundraising, you can do so here