1836. Hannah Beecham
Hannah Beecham, from London, is the creator of ‘RED January’, the community campaign which has helped nearly 250,000 people across the UK move every day during January, in a way that works for them and their lifestyle.
Hannah started the movement in 2016 after seeing how regular movement transformed her mother’s physical and mental health after a period of severe depression. She created the campaign as a way for her mother and other people to combat the winter blues, a time of year when activity levels are at their lowest in the UK, with reports of lower mood and energy levels.
Hannah realised the potential for creating a wider community of people who, having undertaken the challenge, want to continue being more regularly active in their daily lives, support one another in setting new personal goals, and join in shared fundraising drives to help empower others through physical activity and sport.
By making their ‘RED January’ movement pledges part of a sponsored challenge, the ‘RED Together’ community has helped raise over £3 million since 2016 for charities that promote positive mental health through sport, working particularly closely with ‘Sport in Mind’, a charity which runs sports programmes co-designed by healthcare professionals and by people with personal experience of mental health challenges.
The campaign has also partnered with the University of Oxford to undertake research from ‘RED January’ participants and further study the positive impact of regular activity, with more than half of participants experiencing a significant improvement in their overall wellbeing and a reduction in anxiety, stress and depressive symptoms.
In a personal letter to Hannah, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“Congratulations on the fantastic success of ‘RED January’. Inspired by the way that exercise supported your mother, you have turned a brilliant idea into a nationwide community campaign.
“For some of us, the pandemic highlighted the need to focus more on getting fit to stay healthy. The simple act of taking exercise every day can transform a range of health outcomes and so it is fantastic that people across the UK have embraced new challenges and committed to regular activities thanks to you.”
“I was originally inspired to start ‘RED January’ after witnessing the transformative effect that regular movement had on my mum’s mental health, specifically during the winter period, a time where as a nation our motivation to move is at its lowest. With thousands of people around the country currently beating the winter blues this January, it makes receiving this award all the more special. To each and every REDer, thank you for being a part of the ‘RED January’ journey so far. This is for you.”
Pictured below: the RED Together Community