Lingfield Running Club – putting community and mental health at the heart

Starting in 1983 as a couple of friends who wanted to run to improve their fitness to play squash, Lingfield Running Club has since grown from strength to strength. Officially launching as a club in 1985, Lingfield has become an integral part of the local community with some of the founding members still training with the club today.

We caught up with long serving member and Chair Scott McDonald to find out what the secret is to creating such a fantastic club atmosphere.

Supporting the community in Lingfield

Despite starting out as friends running together once per week, the club has since grown over 39 years to welcome 171 members to their sessions. In recent years Scott and the committee have made huge strides to support the runners both physically and mentally.

“I worked for more than 30 years on the frontline of the emergency services, and I regularly encountered people suffering from mental health issues. As a result, in 2020 I decided to undertake a three-month course on Mental Health First Aid and Mental Wellbeing. In the same year I became the Mental Health Champion and Chair of the club."

"Whilst I profess to being no expert in mental health, it is particularly rewarding to know I may have provided support to someone who is struggling. I can meet members for a walk, run or cup of coffee to give them a safe space where they can speak openly and confidently about any issues they may be facing, no matter how big or small."

“Very sadly in 2018 two of our members tragically lost their 20-year-old son as he took his own life and since then the club committee has made it a priority to raise awareness on the importance of mental wellbeing and to support the young people’s suicide prevention charity, Papyrus.”

Providing competition opportunities and raising vital funds

The club certainly keep themselves busy with a calendar full of exciting racing and fundraising opportunities.

Lingfield Running Club group picture

“We have a club handicap in December where we collectively support a local charity, and in recent years this has been Papyrus. Ahead of the race, I contact local charities and our MP who generously donate prizes which are either auctioned off or put into a raffle to raise money. It’s not just about the running, some of our crafty club members set up stalls and sell home made gifts and decorations around Christmas time. The handicap competition is not only great because it supports charity, but it also gives all runners of all abilities the chance to win which really supports our inclusive club ethos.”

Creating an inclusive atmosphere with Club Standards

In addition to all the work Lingfield Running Club does to support local charities, ensuring the club is inclusive and welcoming to the wider community is integral. Thanks to the support of England Athletics and Club Standards, the club has achieved all seven standards!

“Although we are a small club, we have had no major issues implementing our Club Standards. We have found the templates England Athletics provide a very useful guide."

"We can now display our standards on the club website and in our handbook for members and the community to see. Even though we have now achieved the standards, we will continue each year to review and give members the opportunity to scrutinise and consider improvements."

Lingfield Running Club group picture

In addition to implementing Club Standards, Lingfield have also worked with England Athletics to secure a Club Improvement Fund grant alongside a £250 donation from Lingfield Parish Council.

“The greatly appreciated grant and additional funding afforded us the opportunity to purchase a much-needed club flag, and pop-up gazebo - no heavy poles to carry! We also put a further two club members through England Athletics coaching courses, and they are now able to provide training sessions for all our members helping them improve their individual running technique, fitness, and personal confidence.”

Has your club achieved all seven Club Standards?

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