Vistry staff take part in charity event to raise awareness of suicide among young people
31 Oct 2022

Vistry staff take part in charity event to raise awareness of suicide among young people

Staff from housebuilding firm Vistry Group’s Mercia region walked and cycled miles as part of the company’s national event to raise awareness about suicide among young people.

Employees from the company, based in Dunston Hall, Staffordshire, took part in their regional leg of the journey, which will see a commemorative book carried more than 1,000 miles across the UK without using any form of motorised transport.

The housebuilder has organised the Vistry Voyage to support its national group charity Papyrus, which works to help prevent suicide among young people.

The commemorative book was handed over to staff at Vistry Mercia from a representative from Vistry North West on Wednesday 21 September.

Site manager Albert Hassall – who oversees construction of Bovis Homes properties at Vistry’s Hazelmere location, in Haslington, and this year won his fourth consecutive Pride in the Job Quality Award from the National House Building Council (NHBC) for his work at the site – cycled 10 miles with the book.

Sub-contract payment clerk Karen Stevens, procurement co-ordinator Natalie Lees, technical director Rob Ellam, Natalie Powell, marketing assistant and receptionist Chelsey Davison walked two miles from the head office to Penkridge.

Technical co-ordinator Carl Watkins cycled with the book eight miles from Penkridge to the Chase, while the managing director’s PA Liz Keogh, marketing assistant Natalie Powell, purchase ledger clerk Jenna Jones and marketing manager Freya Halsall walked nearly three miles on the Chase with the book.

The book was handed over to colleagues at Vistry West Midlands on Thursday 22 September for the next leg of the voyage.

Joanne Morrison, regional managing director of Vistry Mercia, said: “It was heartening to see members of staff volunteering to walk or cycle to help carry the book along its symbolic journey across the country. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their sterling efforts.

“The Vistry Voyage is yet another way we can show our ongoing support for the amazing work that Papyrus does. Suicide affects so many families and raising money and awareness is the least we can do.”

Papyrus is dedicated to the prevention of suicide, which is the biggest killer of people aged 35 and under in the UK. The charity provides confidential support and advice to young people struggling with thoughts of suicide and anyone worried about a young person, through its helpline HOPELINEUK.

The Vistry Voyage book is being taken by foot, on two wheels and by various different forms of human-powered transport.

Vistry Mercia is one of 23 business units across the country stretching from the North East of England to Devon and Cornwall. Staff from each business unit will be taking charge of the book for their own section of the journey.

Volunteers from across the company are playing their part and will be using all available means of human-powered transport from scooters to roller skates.

Everyone who takes part in the trek will personally sign the book and money is also being raised through sponsorship throughout the six-week-long journey. In total the journey will cover 1,163 miles from start to finish.

Those who have been affected by suicide in some way in their lives, be it through friends, family, colleagues, or someone in their community, are joining the voyage. Others who want to pledge their support by raising awareness are backing the appeal.

The start of the event was planned to coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day, which this year took place on Saturday 10 September.

It has long been recognised that the housebuilding industry has one of the highest suicide rates of all the professions. More than 1,400 construction workers took their own lives between 2011 and 2015. The suicide rate for the industry is estimated at more than three times the national average for men.

For updates on the Vistry Voyage, visit www.vistrygroup.co.uk and follow the housebuilder on social media.

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