But, I can’t find anything that truly reflects how much it has meant that the team worked so hard to raise money for Touch Network.

So, I’ve decided to write a public, yet personal blog, as a way of saying thank you.

Here goes…

Trago is my local coffee lounge and I am often seen in there meeting with friends for coffee, entertaining my children, working on my laptop or having evening drinks with friends. Over the years I have got to know the staff team there.

I can’t say I know them super well, but I do feel we are friends. I don’t think the team quite realise what they, and the place, have meant to me – even before they chose to fundraise for Touch Network.

As most of you reading this blog will know, I still struggle with depression, and at times quite badly, even though I do my best to battle it.

If I’m really honest, popping in to Trago and being a ‘regular’ really helps me manage my day. Knowing that whenever I walk in, I will always see a friendly face and receive a lovely welcome, means a lot on those tricky days.

The team bring me coffee, smile, make me feel welcome and chat with me about all sorts of random light-hearted subjects. Little do they know (or maybe they do?) that these conversations have been a lifeline to me, they have kept me grounded, and make me feel less lonely with my thoughts when depression has been rife.

When Steve, the manager of Trago, contacted me to say the Trago team had chosen Touch for LoungeAid, the lounges annual fundraising campaign, I was blown away. Steve and the team said it was a no-brainer, not just because I was a regular(!), but because mental wellbeing is a pertinent issue and something that affects everybody, including their staff and customers.

I felt genuinely moved and humbled that others were keen to raise money for something that had started as an idea in my head a couple of years ago…it made me realise how far Touch has come and gave me a real sense of pride in the work that we do.

Reuben and Matt (team members at Trago) were incredibly brave by even sharing personal and inspiring real life stories at one of our storytelling events. So many guests on the night were impacted by what they said. Their stories focused on relationships, friendships and mental wellbeing, it felt an honour to spend time listening.

During the LoungeAid period, Trago shared information about Touch with their customers, ran a number of bake sales and the lovely Heli made beautiful jewellery to sell.

The fundraising efforts culminated in a final fundraising event. There was a fabulous band and various games, and another bake sale to raise money. But the focus of the day was both Steve and Reuben walking for 16 hours (between 7am and 11pm) on treadmills in Trago!

Not only did the lads arrange for two treadmills to be moved into The Lounge (apparently a story in itself!) they just didn’t stop walking. It was a huge effort. Between them, we’re pretty sure, they walked over 60 miles……WOW!

Total donations for the work that Trago Lounge did, including the finale event, came to a whopping £1,057!

The donation is amazing, and huge for us at Touch. It will make a huge difference to our work in preventing mental health struggles starting or getting worse.

In addition, for me personally, it has truly been an uplifting, positive and great experience. I loved working with the team, great fun, full of energy and positivity. But, even more than that, I felt my personal confidence grow. I felt truly humbled and moved that our work was given such a boost of energy by a relatively small team who believed in me, in our team, in our work and in the huge importance of addressing mental wellbeing in our community.

Thank you Steve, Reuben, Heli, Matt and the rest of the Trago team. I may not have found the ‘perfect’ thank you present, but please know, the support and kindness you’ve shown me and Touch won’t be forgotten. Thank you! You are all superstars!