Blue Monday event to support small business owners and community

The Live Stream event will take place on Monday, January 17.

The Live Stream event will take place on Monday, January 17. - Credit: ALEX HUGHES

A 24-hour Speak-Up Live-a-thon is being held to encourage small business owners and members of the community to seek support for their mental health in 2022.

The event coincides with Blue Monday (January 17), thought to be the most depressing day of the year, to highlight the importance of communication and community in combatting mental health concerns

This is the second Speak-Up Live-a-thon event which will also raise money for CPSL Mind.

Starting at 12am on the morning of January 17,  entrepreneur Alex Hughes,  who is behind the small business community Shifties, will stream for 24-hours non-stop.

Alex will be joined by small business owners, mental health experts, community leaders and members of the local community with other fundraising activities happening throughout the whole of January as part of the Speak-Up campaign.

After an incredibly challenging 2020, Alex came up with the idea of hosting a 24-hour live-a-thon to combat negative thinking and to focus on stories of resilience and survival – for both businesses and individuals – and to explore why communication and a supportive community is so important.

The Speak-Up Live-a-thon 2021 proved to be a huge success with 35 speakers and more than 20,000 views on the live stream and more than £4,500 raised for the charity.

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Alex said: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of the local economy, but this past year has placed huge pressures on the people building them.

"Running a business can feel lonely – but it doesn’t have to be that way. With the right support network, your chances of success grow tenfold.

"The Speak Up Live-a-thon aims to reverse the traditional doom and gloom associated with Blue Monday and show how good communication and the support of a community can make running a business fun, whilst also increasing your potential to grow.

"If your situation is getting you down, our message is simple: speak up – you are not on your own.”

He added: “I think it is dangerous to have a day labelled the most depressing day of the year, without there being positive action taking place to combat it, Speak Up gives anyone that has access to social media 24 hours of unique stories and content that will give the viewers reason to be excited about the year ahead.”

The event will not only include the 24-hour live stream, but will also include fundraising activities throughout the week such as a charity football match hosted by mental health advocate, Jamie Archer and a walking challenge, hosted by Steve Whitney, and Justin Leigh of Walk and Talk 4 Men whereby they aim to walk a cumulative of 874 miles over the course of the week with 18 of their members.

Special guests joining the Live-a-thon include Danielle Bridge the Founding Director of ABC Life Support CIC, Jamala Osman the TedX speaker and social entrepreneur, plus representatives from CPSL Mind and small business owners from Cambridgeshire making up the 30 plus guests joining the stream.

The event is hoping to raise £10,000 for the charity CPSL Mind, an organisation devoted to supporting people with mental health concerns, and their families across Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire.

The event is open for anyone to join and will be hosted via shifties.co.uk/speakup22. Alex and guests will encourage the audience to share their concerns and questions in the live feed, whilst hearing real stories of people’s lives and businesses.

There will be opportunity to interact with the guests, prizes to be won to encourage donations and buckets of inspiration to drive a message of positivity. You can find a full schedule of all of the fundraising activities happening throughout the month and how you can get involved at shifties.co.uk/speakup22.

The event runs from 12am until 11:59pm on January 17, running for 24 hours straight You can tune in at: www.shifties.co.uk/speakup· Donate at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/shifties-speakup.