Canoeists from mhs homes smash target and raise more than £7,000 for mental health charity

A team of 24 from mhs homes paddled 30 miles along the River Medway to raise money and awareness for Mind.

We’re very pleased to have raised more than £7,000 through our sponsored canoe challenge for Mind, our charity of the year.

The two-day challenge began at 7:30am on Friday 28 June. The team travelled through Tonbridge, Yalding, Nettlestead, Teston, East Farleigh and Maidstone on day one, before stopping overnight at Allington.

Day two involved the tidal stretch of river which winds around Aylesford, Snodland, Wouldham, Cuxton, Strood, Rochester and Chatham. The team were then greeted by a cheering crowd at the finish line at The Strand in Gillingham.

“I’m so proud of team mhs for completing this gruelling fundraiser, especially as we were paddling in the extreme heat; the second day temperatures reached thirty degrees. But this challenge was nothing compared to the battles many people with mental health problems are facing every day. We wanted to raise as much money and awareness as possible for Mind, so they can continue to offer support and advice to anyone who needs it. Thank you to all of the wonderful people who donated and the dedicated rowers who took part. We owe a huge thanks to everyone at Medway Watersports; without you none of this would’ve been possible”, said Chief Executive Ashley Hook, who led the team.

Mind campaigns to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding of mental health problems. Mind’s support services and resources are vital. Last year the Mind Infoline answered almost 100,000 calls and their information was accessed 12 million times.

“We’re so grateful to team mhs and to everyone who sponsored them. Their determination and invaluable support will help ensure Mind can continue to be there for the one in four of us who experience a mental health problem every year, offering reliable advice and support to those who need it”, said Rebecca Hastings, Head of Corporate Partnerships at Mind

Qualified instructors from Medway Watersports helped to support the team across the two days.

The charity’s objectives are to provide watersports for youths and young adults in Medway, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Based at The Strand in Gillingham, they also offer watersports activities to the wider population, encouraging people to take full advantage of the River Medway and other facilities on their doorstep.

“Team mhs’ accomplishment is really impressive. They completed a series of training sessions with us beforehand and all but one of these were affected by adverse weather conditions; including ferocious headwinds. This stood them in good stead for the real challenge though, as the strength-sapping heat gave rise to a brutal headwind at certain points.
We run canoeing and kayaking sessions on Wednesday evenings and dinghy sailing on Sundays, which are open to all. Getting out on the water on a regular basis can really help to improve mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. Visit our website or call 01634 582100 if you’re interested”, said Mark Falkingham, Chair of Medway Watersports Trust


The canoe challenge was one of the many fundraisers we’ve had this year. We raised £5,600 in May through our annual charity golf day. There’s still time to donate if you’d like to, thank you.