A BASINGSTOKE man will be taking on the London marathon later this year in aid of a mental health charity close to his heart.

On October 3, local Matthew Holman from Kempshott will be running the London Marathon for Team Samaritans.

Matt is the owner of Simpila Mental Health, a training and consulting business dedicated to raising awareness, education and support to the mental health conversation across society.

In addition to his job, Matt has been a listening volunteer with Basingstoke Samaritans since 2015.

In November 2020, he launched a podcast channel, Matt Holman Talks Mental Health, recording conversations with everyday incredible humans, with over 100 episodes recorded and shared so far.

In February, Matt hosted a 24 Hour Global Podcast Recording event, recording 24 episodes of the podcast in 24 hours and raising over £2,500 split between MIND and Samaritans.

The next adventure, the London Marathon has been inspired by the increased demands on the services of Samaritans over the past year, and helping to ensure that more people will have access to a safe space to talk when they are worried about the challenges of life.

Matt said: “More people are struggling with the challenges of mental health today than ever before. The pandemic has increased anxiety and the number of people struggling with signs of depression has doubled since the start of the first lockdown.

"During the pandemic I have delivered training and support to many companies and thousands of individuals through my day job, and it is encouraging that many are now investing in the conversations of mental health. Part of the support to those struggling is to have access 24/7/365 to a safe space to discuss their challenges, this is where the Samaritans service is such a valuable asset to this support.

"Running the Marathon for Team Samaritans brings together two passions of mine, running - being a member of Hatch Warren Runners - and the Samaritans.

"I hope to raise over £2,500 to help continue the vital support work for this wonderful charity.”

If you would like to make a donation to support Matt in his challenge you can do so here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mattholman2