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The First Steps Forward programme is the first of its kind in the UK, created by husband and wife team Amber and Tom Dunning, it's designed to support individuals  experiencing mental health problems to participate in physical activity that helps improve their mental wellbeing, whilst connecting them to a wider support network and other services. 

The initial pilot scheme will enable us to support 45 individuals from Lincoln and will only be available for self-referrals or are referred by a mental health professional. If the pilot scheme is successful we hope to be able to offer the programme on a larger scale. 

Funded and

supported by:

Funders and supporters


All criteria must be met to participate in the pilot

  • Participants must be 18+

  • Participants must live in the City of Lincoln or surrounding areas.

  • Anyone who is experiencing any form of mental health difficulty (this does not need to be formally diagnosed.)

  • Individuals who are facing financial hardship, are from a low-income household or who otherwise would not be able to self-fund the initial expenses of buying exercise kit.

  • Individuals who wish to start using running as a tool to improve their mental wellbeing.

  • Participants must be willing to complete a brief anonymous feedback questionnaire once every month so that we can monitor the success of the programme. (This will be until approximately May 2021).

  • In this initial pilot phase, we will only accept participants via professional referral (no self-referrals).

Who is the pilot for?
What's included

What's included

  • Being part of history! This is the first programme of its kind within the UK!

  • Every participant will receive a FREE pair of high-quality running shoes from Brooks Running UK.

  • A £25 voucher to spend with our partner The Lincolnshire Runner on additional kit. 

  • Signposting information to help you connect with other support services in Lincoln.

  • Being part of an exclusive community of like-minded individuals who support, motivate and inspire each other to achieve personal goals. 
  • An initial 30-minute telephone consultation

  • A place in the RunTalkRun Lincoln group. 

  • A non-judgemental and supportive environment to take those initial steps towards using running as a tool for improved mental wellbeing.


  • We are not an emergency service and are not insured to give specific mental health advice or therapy; however, we will always seek to put individuals in touch with the right support to help them.

  • This is not simply a means of accessing free running kit, participants must be committed to accessing running as a means of improving their mental health and must be willing to engage with the support on offer. Funds, vouchers or running equipment provided to individuals on the programme is for their sole use and is not to be sold or given to any third party under any circumstances. We are limited in the number of people we are currently able to support, and we want to make sure that the equipment and help we provide is accessed and used by those who most need it to improve their wellbeing. Anyone found to be selling any goods provided by us will automatically be removed from the programme.



  • Due to the nature of this project, it is vital that we work in collaboration with relevant agencies to safeguard the participants supported by us and the wider community. Therefore, all participants will be asked to read and consent to our confidentiality and safeguarding policy before participating in the programme. This can be provided to referring agencies on request.

  • Disclosures of risk (e.g., thoughts of suicide or self-harm; safeguarding concerns or risk to others) will be treated seriously and should we become aware that any individual is at risk of harm, we will act to safeguard those individuals by sharing information with the person’s referrer, their GP, the emergency services or relevant safeguarding agencies (e.g., children’s services). Participants will be required to provide their consent for us to act in this way.

  • All information collected as part of this project will be handled in accordance with GDPR requirements, will be held securely and will only be used for the purposes of administrating this project. It will not be shared with any third party without the explicit consent of the individual(s) concerned. The requirements of the funding for this project are that we provide a report in May 2020 to evidence the outcomes of the project. This data will be anonymised to protect the identity of individuals concerned.

  • Individual’s reserve the right to withdraw from the programme at any time, however understand that by doing so, they will not receive any further benefits from the project. Likewise, should any individual be found to not meet the criteria of the project, be sharing resources with any other party not involved with the project or otherwise acting in a way which brings the project into disrepute, we reserve the right to terminate their participation in the project without prior notice.

What we can't offer
Safeguarding Informaton
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