A THERAPIST has cycled 49 miles to launch his new charity.

Psychotherapist Chip Ponsford was joined by ten other men – nine from Tynedale and one from Australia – who rode the distance to launch Heart Wood.

The charity works to improve the mental health of people, focusing on men, through woodland-based, person-centred counselling and therapy.

Forty nine represents the age under which suicide is the biggest killer of men in the UK.

Chip formed the charity following the successful outcomes of pilot schemes completed by himself and fellow pyschotherapist Rab Erskine, along with the Northumberland Domestic Abuse Service (NDAS).

The model proposed by Heart Wood involves long-term work, building trust through by respecting each individual’s experience.

Originally from London, Chip moved his family to Tynedale in order to set up Heart Wood and provide the service.

He explained: “There’s a large proportion of men who can’t engage with traditional therapy. They’re the men we want to reach out to.

“There’s good research that shows men will engage more with something outside.

“We’re answering a very real need. We did a pilot scheme in 2018 which showed this type of therapy is very successful.

“We’re now a charity and we can raise funds. We’re confident we can raise the money.”

Chip is hoping that the bike ride will raise £2,500, which will fund a place for one participant to engage in the therapy sessions.

Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/campaign/heartwoodride