SLaM fundraiser Ella inspired by young service user
Clinical psychologist at SLaM Ella McCabe has taken her dedication to her workplace one step - or 13.1 miles - further by running the Royal Parks Half Marathon in October to raise money for Carelink.
Part of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Clinical and Academic Group, Carelink is a mental health and therapeutic service in Southwark for children in foster care and their carers. It offers support to young people up to the age of 18 who may be going through emotional distress or behavioural difficulties, often as a result of challenging early life experiences that resulted in them going into care.
‘The majority of the children we see have experienced abuse or neglect growing up,’ says Ella. ‘Carelink gives them somewhere to talk about distressing things or helps them use play, art, or drama to express their feelings. Support is also given to foster carers around how best to help the child in their new home and to schools around how to support child's development.’
Ella, who has worked at SLaM since June 2014, was inspired to fundraise by one particular young service user with learning difficulties and her interaction with Carelink’s resources.
‘She was due to transition from foster care to adoption,’ explains Ella. ‘We were using two dolls’ houses to try and help her think about where she was now and where she was going and to allow her to begin to express her feelings around the move. The girl looked at the dolls’ house that represented her new home and began to inspect it closely, looking at the various bits of furniture, which were all quite worn and worse for wear due to repeated use. It was as if she questioned whether she would like to move into this old, shabby house.
‘This experience led me to think that raising money for more resources such as new dolls’ houses, furniture and art materials would help our work with children who were very much in need of support.’
The Royal Parks Half Marathon starts and finishes in Hyde Park, following a course through four of the capital’s magnificent Royal Parks and past its most iconic landmarks. The weather on the day was fine, allowing the 16,000 runners to complete the picturesque route in bright autumnal sunshine, all cheered on by around 50,000 spectators.
Ella finished in an impressive 1 hour 57 minutes, and smashed her £400 target by raising over £525 for Carelink.
'The atmosphere carried me along and I was thrilled with my time,' she says. 'Walking up and down the stairs was sore for a while afterwards! But all my friends and family’s support and donations have made it well worth it. There’s great work being done at SLaM and it feels good to be able to support that.’
If you were inspired by this story, find out how you can run the Royal Parks for SLaM.