Why We’re Supporting Megan Baker House

25,000 miles to mark 25 years is certainly a long road to travel and SIL’s staff, service users and supporters are already beginning to rise to the challenge.

However, underlying this adventure is the hope that between us and with the support of those who can’t be part of the challenge themselves, we can raise funds for Megan Baker House (MBH), our charity of the Year.

MBH has been improving the outcomes of its clients since 2002, running sessional services for adults and children with neurological motor disorders using the method of Conductive Education (CE). CE is a holistic educational movement approach – a way of life and a way of thinking  -where the participant is actively involved in their learning and can transfer the skills and techniques learnt in a session into all aspects of everyday life.

The CE team supports clients with conditions which include Cerebral Palsy, Dyspraxia, Parkinson’s, Stroke, Acquired Brain Injury, and Multiple Sclerosis and those they work with range from a few months old to their mid 80’s.

Based in Ledbury the charity, which relies totally on grants and donations, needs around £3,500 per annum to support each client. MBH uses CE to teach coping mechanisms and techniques to allow participants to learn to manage the difficulties caused by their movement disorder. CE is built on the concept of human potential; the idea that everyone can develop and learn regardless of their starting point.

It is this shared vision that drew SIL to MBH – both organisations use a strength-based approach to their work. It’s not what you can’t do, but what you can do that matters, and SIL and MBH work hard with the service users to ensure they reach their full potential, sometimes defying medical opinion along the way!

Every single journey made by MBH’s clients takes time and motivation. We hope that our 25,000 mile challenge will highlight this commitment and determination to overcome personal obstacles and raise money for our charity of the year.

Please donate today – every pound we raise will go to MBH helping them to continue providing the support their clients need. Visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sil-25k-challenge

Ask for ANI – codeword for domestic abuse victims

From 14 January, victims of domestic abuse have been able to access much needed support from thousands of pharmacies across the UK, backed by the government.

The Ask for ANI scheme allows those at risk or suffering from abuse to discreetly signal that they need help and access support. By asking for ANI, a trained pharmacy worker will offer a private space where they can understand if the victim needs to speak to the police or would like help to access support services such as a national or local domestic abuse helplines.

As an essential retailer based on high streets across the country, and with specifically trained staff, pharmacies can provide a safe space for victims to sound an alarm if they are isolated at home with their abuser and unable to get help in another way.

The Prime Minister committed to launch this scheme at the Hidden Harms summit last year in recognition of the impact of Covid restrictions on the ability of victims to reach out for help and support. The scheme was initially proposed by survivors as something that would have helped them.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

As we once again have to ask people across the country to stay at home to tackle this virus, it’s vital that we take action to protect those for who home is not a safe space.

That is why we have launched this scheme, supported by pharmacies up and down the country, to give some of the most vulnerable people in society a critical lifeline – making sure they have access to the support they need and keep them safe from harm.

The codeword scheme will be promoted using discreet social media adverts and paid search. Pharmacies will be given promotional material to display in store to signal to victims that they are participating.  Health professionals, social workers and Job Centres will also be asked to promote the scheme, alongside police, local authorities and specialist support services for victims.

The scheme will be initially available through the 2,300 Boots stores across the UK as well as 255 independent pharmacies. There will be an on-going sign-up process open to all pharmacies.

Measuring the Miles

Hello, how are you all?

It’s April 12th and the shops are re-opening as the next phase of lockdown restrictions are being lifted.  I wonder how miles you could clock on a shopping trip perhaps combined with a trip to the hairdressers.  Gyms are also opening for individuals, so if you think it’s a bit chilly for exercising outside (snow in April!) you could go tot up your miles on the running, rowing or cycling equipment.

Using a static machine makes it easy to measure how far you’ve ‘traveled’ but if you are on the open road it’s a bit more tricky.  Seasoned sportspeople out there will probably already have a favourite app or device to monitor and record progress but if you are wondering how to measure the miles this week’s blog will hopefully help…

We would like to introduce you to a few apps you can use on your smartphone – we have only included apps that are free to download and use in their basic forms – to track your progress.


Strava is free to download for IOS and Android. There is extra functionality you can pay for but to be able to measure your mileage and keep track of your activities it’s free and easy to use.

Strava can track Cycling, Running, Walking, Swimming, and Hiking.  Strava can work alone on your phone or together with your other devices –  such as a GPS watch or head unit, heart rate monitor – and records your performance and mileage. Recording an activity with Strava is easy, and afterward you’ll have a detailed activity map and tons of performance data.

SIL on Strava

We have set up the SIL Club on Strava – Join us if you want to keep track of fellow challengees, like a bit of friendly competition or to see how Euan is going with his personal challenge of doing 2500miles and at least one 100 mile bike ride.


Map my fitness  

The MapMyFitness family of apps includes MapMyFitness, MapMyHike, MapMyRide, MapMyRun, depending on your activity preferences. As you walk, the route you have taken is marked in red. The app tracks elapsed time, distance, pace, speed, elevation, and calories burned. You can choose audio feedback to announce distance, pace, calories burned, and other data every mile, half mile, or another interval. When you finish your activity, you can save your workout data and view it on the app and on the MapMyWalk website.


You can track not only running, but also cycling or fitness walking. It allows users to view a detailed history of activities. You can listen to audio coaching and follow in app training plan workouts or create your own. Runkeeper also lets you set goals and watch your progress to stay motivated.  For runners training for races, this app offers personalized training routines, complete with helpful reminders to keep you on track

World Walking

A fun way to discover the world while you walk. Pick one of over 300 routes from around the globe and World Walking will give you a summary of the area and highlights of the walk ahead. Then, as you stroll around your neighbourhood and gain distance, you’ll receive photos of milestones you hit along your global path.

Adidas Running

You might know it better by Runtastic, if you’ve seen Adidas’ app before.

Adidas Running will measure your times, speed and distance while also providing customized voice coaching and cheers to help motivate your progress. A configurable dashboard lets you track only the info that’s important to you. Community features, challenges and goals can provide extra running motivation.  Adidas Running is free, but a premium subscription also includes training plans, route planning, interval training and more.

Your smartphone

Check the functions/apps in your Smartphone – lots already come with fitness trackers built in or their own app already loaded – they will clock steps and exercise.  My Samsung phone comes with Samsung Health, a preloaded app that clocks 10 different types of exercise from Walking, swimming to weight machines and circuit training.  It counts my steps,  and auto recognises when I do exercise; if I’ve got my phone with me!

Fitness trackers/ pedometers

Lots of us are wearing fitness tracker watches these days in an effort to reach the recommended daily 10,000 steps.  These usually have accompanying apps which translate your steps into miles or record activities.

A simple pedometer can keep count of your steps in a day.  A little bit of math multiplying your step distance by the number of steps taken and you’ve got a total distance.

So now you have a few options to help you keep track of the miles you’ve covered don’t forget …

However you clock those miles remember these 4 things:

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The Warm Up!

Have you got started yet? It’s now nearly a week since we launched our big 25K miles challenge in support of Megan Baker House, SIL charity of the year. Whilst the weather is warming up (well, we hope it is – fingers crossed there are more sunny days on their way) we are going to give you some tips to getting started and why it’s a good idea.

Do you need convincing?

We might not like it, but we all know that exercise is good for your physical health. It can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart diseasestroketype 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%.

Not only that but now research shows that physical activity can also boost our mental wellbeing. Even a short burst of 10 minutes’ brisk walking increases our mental alertness, energy and positive mood.  It is also shown to help with stress, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

Taken from the NHS website Dr Nick Cavill, a health promotion consultant says, “If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented”. 

What’s your motivation?

Whilst the overall aim of our challenge is to raise some money for Megan Baker House and encourage people to get exercising to improve their well-being, whilst celebrating our 25 years, you’ll have your own reasons for taking part. You may want to lose weight, increase your fitness or want to improve your mental well-being… whatever your motivation take a note of where you are now.

  • How are you feeling?
  • How out of breath do you get going up the stairs or walking up a hill?
  • Have you measured your waistline or stepped on the scales recently?
  • How well do you sleep?

Keeping a note of how these improve will help to keep you motivated.

Slow and steady wins the race.

If you are new or returning to exercise it’s important to start slowly; now is not the time to try a 10-mile walk or 30-mile bike ride.  In terms of the challenge we have 12months to reach our total and in terms of your physical and mental wellbeing every little helps. Many people start exercising with frenzied zeal — working out too long or too intensely — and give up when their muscles and joints become sore or injured. Been there, done that – whoops!

Give yourself plenty of time to warm up and cool down each time you exercise with easy walking or gentle stretching. As your stamina improves, gradually increase the amount of time and intensity of your exercise and plan time between sessions for your body to rest and recover.

If you have an injury or medical condition, consult your doctor about designing a fitness programme for you.

This section on the NHS website www.nhs.uk/live-well/ gives some great advice on increasing exercise and some exercise plans including that all important warm up.


The internet is a great source of advice and tips on getting started in any sport.  Here are a couple of sites you could visit for inspiration:

Can I join even if I don’t do miles?

Yes you most definitely can.  This is an inclusive event and we understand that movement is difficult for some and people exercise in different ways.

Here are some other ways you can help tot up our totaliser;

  • Gardening – proven to help boost your mood and physical at times, count 1 mile for every 30 minutes of gardening.
  • Aerobics/gym strength training/team sports – whilst you don’t travel from A-B these activities increase your endorphins, the hormones that trigger a positive feeling, and have obvious physical health benefits. Count 1 mile per 10 to 15 minutes – we’ll leave it up to you to judge how hard you are working.

If you would like to suggest any other ways we can add to our miles to make this challenge fully inclusive please let us know at SIL25K@s4il.co.uk.

However you clock those miles remember these 4 things:

  • Enjoy yourself
  • Warm up and cool down every time you exercise
  • Share our link to donate to Megan Baker House as far and as wide as you can https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sil-25k-challenge
  • Send us your miles and pictures at the end of each month to SIL25K@s4il.co.uk.

Follow our Facebook for blog alerts and share the Just Giving link:  https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sil-25k-challenge