Reverend Matt leading efforts to earn special status for St Ives

Matt Finch cycled from London to Paris last year. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Matt Finch cycled from London to Paris last year. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

People are coming together in a bid to make St Ives the first mental health town in the UK.

Reverend Matt Finch, of St Ives Methodist Church, took on a 300-mile cycling challenge last year that saw him travel from London to Paris in order to raise money for CALM, a charity that supports people with mental health issues.

Now, the 40-year-old is joining forces with the people of St Ives in an effort to make the town the first ever CALM (Campaign against Living Miserably) town.

The aim of making St Ives a CALM town is to allow people from different community groups to get involved and raise awareness of the importance of mental health. Rev Finch said one of his motives for raising awareness of mental health issues came following the deaths of two men from the town who committed suicide last year.

Rev Finch said: “We want to get the message out that it’s ok not to be ok and to reduce the stigma around mental health in all ages and people groups. It is a key moment for us where energy, tragedy of two recent suicides, community, and opportunity have combined to inspire hopes of lasting change in our town.

“Our vision is to shape a community where nobody needs to struggle with mental health on their own and that there is always someone to listen or place to go.”

Joining Rev Finch is the mayor of St Ives, Councillor Tim Drye, and the previous mayor Councillor Phillip Pope, as well as other groups in the town.

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Events will be held across the year, and the team are hoping to get schools, employers, and community groups from around the town to get involved to raise awareness for the cause.

A meeting is also being held at St Ives Methodist Church on February 13 at 7.30pm. Anyone who would like to get involved is invited to come along to the meeting.