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The sky is the limit: Sandra will jump from a plane to raise funds for mental health support in Peckham

A volunteer who befriends older, BAME people with mental health issues is skydiving this Saturday to raise funds for the Peckham-based project.

Sandra Johnson will jump on September 21 to raise funds for Peckham Befrienders, part of the South London and Maudsley Foundation Trust’s volunteering programme and supported by the Maudsley Charity.

She began volunteering in January 2019, and uses her own experience of mental health issues to support others at the community drop-in and befriending service.

“I discovered just how many people in the community are really isolated,” she said.

“Without it, they’d have no safe space where they can just go, listen to music, relax and socialise with other people.”

Some of the outings the befrienders take part in include bowling, gym sessions, cinema tripps, museum visits and alternative therapies.

Sandra first experienced mental health problems ten years ago.

“As someone who has been detained and treated at the Maudsley Hospital, I don’t want to be afraid to share my story if it helps to inspire hope for recovery in others,” she said.

After losing a friend to suicide earlier this year, she decided to skydive in his memory and has already raised £750 – smashing her target of £700.

“He inspired me to look after my physical health as a way to manage my depression, and taught me the importance of self-care.

“Thanks to him I’ve lost over three stone to be able to take part in this skydive.”

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