30 Under 30

A mental health advocate from Lincoln, who was named in The Lincolnite’s 30 Under 30 for 2021, was proud to achieve another accolade after winning a NK Community Champion award.

Thomas Dunning, 30, is the inspirational face behind Mental Health Runner, a project born from his experience surviving multiple suicide attempts and psychosis, as well as his bravery to share his story.

After the pride of being named in The Lincolnite’s 30 Under 30 for 2021 , Thomas was delighted to win his NK Community Champion award. Due to work commitments he was unable to attend the ceremony on November 10, so his dad Lea collected the award on his behalf.

Contribution to Health & Wellbeing – winner Thomas Dunning (award was collected on his behalf by his dad Lea, pictured). Sponsored by Branston Ltd. | Photo: Chris Vaughan Photography for NKDC

Thomas told The Lincolnite: “I was completly shell shocked to be honest. It’s nice to have the recognition and a well done for the things I’ve gone out there and done because it’s something I’m so passionate about, but when it’s someone in your local district who has nominated you for this award it just hits home how much of an impact one man can have in helping others health, fitness and well-being on this scale.

“2021 will defiantly be one to remember! I’ve never set out myself or as “mental health runner” to be award winning or receive any specific commendation. It always has and will always be just doing things which I think would have helped me when I was back in the darkest point of my life.

“All I want to be able to do in my later years is to look back and be able to say either “I did that” or “at least I tried”.

Thomas Dunning won the Contribution to Health & Wellbeing award. | Photo: NKDC

His messages of hope and recovery have travelled worldwide and led to the First Steps Forward programme. The scheme, co-founded with his wife Amber, supports marginalised and disadvantaged individuals to access exercise as a tool for mental health recovery.

Thomas and Amber also co-authored a book called “Surviving the war against yourself” and he works tirelessly to promote open conversations about mental health.

One of his most recent projects is Operation Samaritan, which he runs with volunteer runners on Instagram. Over 2,000 laminated tags with details of the Samaritans, along with an inspirational quote, have been distributed across the UK and Ireland to help prevent suicide.

He also runs Run Talk Run, which is a weekly 5km jog for all abilities, and a confidential space to share your good days, bad days, or anything in between.

There will be a special event held from 4.30pm on November 23 at the University of Lincoln’s Skål Tipi. Thomas will be giving a talk and Brooks Running UK will be attending with some trial shoes, before a 5km run around campus and a social afterwards.

Thomas said: “It’s been a year of firsts with the first steps forward programme – the first of its kind in the UK, and Operation Samaritan starting as a passion project which is now across the UK and Ireland.

“I’ve been doing things like this for three years so who knows, all I know is it’s still just the beginning and I can’t wait to see where it takes me next.”

When asked what the future holds for him, he added: “I really have no idea in the slightest and I think that’s the beauty of it. There isn’t really any end goal to what I’m doing so it could take me anywhere!

“Right now I am continuing with Mental Health Runner and doing what I can to help others and their mental health, still progressing to go around the country giving talks and workshops and hoping to go abroad again with it very soon!”

A Lincoln-based technology safety startup has secured £2.4 million of investment to propel business growth

The investment, led by Blackfinch Ventures, brings the company’s total funding to £4.4 million, almost doubling Tended’s previous funding amount.

Tended was founded in 2017 by Leo Scott Smith, a Lincoln-based entrepreneur who was included in The Lincolnite‘s 2019 30 under 30 list for Lincolnshire, as well as Forbes’ 2021 30 under 30 list for technology.

Leo Scott Smith is the CEO of Tended, based in Lincoln.

The company creates wearable safety solutions used across various industries, including construction, manufacturing and logistics, in order to improve employee safety and efficiency.

Last year, Tended launched a smart vibrating wristband that would help maintain social distancing for those working in construction and infrastructure, as well as flagging up anyone who came into contact with people who tested positive for coronavirus.

Tended’s new social distancing solution is designed to keep employees a safe distance apart when they are at work.

Tended’s wide range of customers already includes the likes of Siemens, Rolls-Royce and Network Rail, and this investment comes as the company looks to bolster its offerings with a new safety culture solution.

The new product will combine wearable technology with behavioural psychology, acting as a reinforcement to alert employees before entering a hazardous area of a site.

The seven figure investment will allow for Tended to facilitate further research and development of its products and solutions.

Tended’s CEO and founder, Leo Scott Smith, said: “Every company has its own unique set of safety challenges. Interventions such as training and processes only go so far to improve safety.

“We’re helping companies uncover and understand the underlying influences of unsafe actions and provide the resources to help them change those behaviours. 

“We aim to help companies achieve sustainable change to promote a safer workplace and positive employee experience.

“The team has been working hard on product development and thanks to investors like Basinghall, we’re one step closer to making sure loved ones return home from dangerous working environments at the end of the day.”

A musical star from Lincolnshire, who was named in The Lincolnite’s 30 Under 30 for 2021, will return to his hometown of Louth for a one-off charity concert later this month.

Cameron Richardson-Eames is an internationally renowned voice teacher who founded The Vocal Coaches last year to offer access to world-class singing tuition around the world. Now based in New York and London, he is one of Broadway’s most sought-after vocal coaches.

The 28-year-old’s school now has over 250 students from 30 countries, including Grammy and Emmy Award winners, Hollywood actors, Broadway and West End professionals, and students in productions for Netflix, HBO, Nickelodeon and Amazon Prime.

Cameron will join forces with Australian-American soprano Corinne Cowling for performances at St James’ Church in Louth on November 30 (5pm & 7.30pm).

Tickets are on sale online here priced at £20, as well as from Annika’s (Eastgate) and Beaumont’s (Bridge Street) shops in Louth. All proceeds will go to NSPCC in Grimsby.

As a pianist and singer, Cameron has performed in may of the world’s top venues, including giving several recitals at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the BBC Proms, Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall, and many broadcasts for the BBC, Classic FM, and WQXR in New York.

The Los Angeles Times wrote “if you’re not touched by tenor Cameron Richardson-Eames you have grinch in your soul”.

Australian-American soprano Corinne Cowling will perform alongside Cameron Richardson-Eames at the charity event in Louth.

He will be performing alongside Corine Cowling, who is best known for playing the lead role of Christine Daae in the West End production of Phantom of the Opera. She will be singing songs from that show and other musicals, amongst other crowd pleasers.

Ahead of the charity event, Cameron said: “I’m so excited to be performing in my hometown, and for such an important charity. The NSPCC does absolutely critical work from its local office in Grimsby, and thoroughly deserves our support.

“On top of that, we’ve put together a lovely programme of songs from West End musicals, piano solos, and much much more and it should be a really special evening”.

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