THE Labour parliamentary candidate for Uttoxeter will raise vital funds for a cash-strapped mental health charity when he takes part in the Uttoxeter half marathon.
Jon Wheale hopes to raise at least £500 for the Art and Soul Friendship Group by taking part in the 13.1 mile race on Sunday, May 4.
The group, based in Market Place offers friendship and support to those in East Staffordshire who are isolated, alone or battling mental health problems.
Mr Wheale, 39, has previously completed the Great North Run in aid of the NSPCC and the London Marathon to support Shelter.
He said: “I was made aware Art and Soul was trying to fund-raise to keep their activities going.
“Mental health care provision is important for a large number of people.
“Art and Soul have facilities which are incredibly valuable to people who need that friendship.
“It would be a shame if that facility was no longer there because the charity was not able to raise the funds to keep going.”
Mr Wheale said he aimed to complete the race in under two hours as long as he can get fit ahead of the big day.
He said: “I’m getting out as much as I can to train because it’s going to be hard work.
“The main thing is to raise as much money as I can for Art and Soul.”
Member of Art and Soul Jo Frost said: “Art and Soul is very important as it supports me in my mental wellbeing.”
Member Tom Wilson said: “I feel that Art and Soul gives me hope. I come from Blythe Bridge and there is nothing like this organisation in my area.”
Vikki Baker, senior project worker at Art and Soul Friendship Group said: “I am excited by the prospect of Jon Wheale becoming an MP as he is very aware of mental health issues.
“I find Jon approachable, supportive and available and will be waiting to welcome him across the finish line with some of our members on May 4.” Further information is available at www.artandsoulfriendshipgroup.com