During 18-26th July, the Blue Light Symphony Orchestra, the UK’s only orchestra for all emergency services personnel, is calling on the public to use their daily lockdown exercise time to show their support for the emergency services by completing the 999Run.

According to the charity, which uses music and music therapy to help improve the mental wellbeing of police, fire and ambulance staff, COVID-19 has seen an exacerbation of the already critical state of mental health among blue light workers.

By completing the 999Run and raising money, the public can support the charity to address the issues around trauma, PTSD, chronic stress, and anxiety among 999 emergency service staff.

Between 18-26th July 2020, participants of all fitness levels are being asked to run, walk, or even skip one of three 999 themed distances – 9.99 km, 999 m or 999 steps.

The charity run is organised by Sebastian Valentine, a detective constable in the Surrey Police Safeguarding Investigation Unit based in Guildford. He investigates child abuse, domestic abuse as well as ‘honour-based abuse’ and harmful traditional practices. He is also a hostage and crisis negotiator.

Sebastian said: “Taking part in 999Run is a great way for everyone to show their support for the emergency services as well as raise money in a fun way and if you cannot participate, you can still donate. Exercise is a great way to boost your own mental health and is even better with some music!”

Research shows that music can significantly improve psychological health and wellbeing as it engages the neurochemical systems responsible for reward, motivation, pleasure, and stress. However, music therapy is not currently open to all emergency workers, the charity wants to raise funds to make the treatment more widely available.

He added: “Coronavirus is taking its toll on all healthcare workers, creating traumatic memories that cause anxiety and stress. But treatments using music, such as music therapy, can be highly effective in helping individuals to self-regulate through difficult emotional states and restore social relationships by fostering feelings of belonging.”

For more information on how to take part or make a donation visit the 999run website

If you wish to know more about the Blue Light Orchestra please visit their website.