THE founder of a Dorset-based restaurant chain is doing his bit to help a mental health charity.
Richard Cooper, who started The Stable chain of pizza, pie and cider restaurants with wife Nikki, is running the London Marathon in aid of Dorset Mind.
The Stable first opened in Bridport, with another branch in Weymouth, and now there are 17 restaurants across the South West and beyond.
As well as taking on the London Marathon, Dorset Mind will be The Stable’s charity partner.
It comes as Dorset Mind, an independent, charity provider of mental health services, prepares to mark its 70th anniversary in November.
Richard said he chose the charity because he wanted to do something positive to help improve access to mental health services.
He added: “When someone is coping with mental illness there's often not anything you can say to help them, so running the marathon is my way of feeling like I am doing something instead.
“Mental health, with all its complexities, is one of the biggest challenges facing us all today. And here in the South West it's massively under-funded, with services in rural areas like Dorset - love it as I do - being really tough for people to access.”
Dorset Mind Patron and psychologist at Bournemouth University Dr Andy Mayers said: “We are truly grateful to Richard and The Stable for making us their Charity Partner. One of the biggest challenges for local charities is to secure funding. Richard’s entry in the London Marathon and the support of his company for the year will enable us to continue our work helping people with mental health problems across Dorset.
"As you probably know, one in four people will experience a diagnosable mental health problem at some point in their lifetime. It’s well-known that running releases endorphins that in turn benefits the participant’s mental health and wellbeing… So this is the perfect partnership - running alongside each other for the journey.
"This is a very special year for us - not only do we have a milestone 70th birthday approaching in November, but we also plan to greatly expand our support groups and befriending service. All money raised will go towards helping support those in Dorset with mental health problems.”
Richard has already raised more than £800. To help him reach his fundraising goal, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/RichardCooperMan