Fosters Solicitors and Norwich City Football Club are delighted to highlight Matt Colley as our Community Hero for the Canaries' home game against Birmingham City.
During the 2020-21 Sky Bet Championship football season we will be working in partnership with Norwich City to celebrate its Community Hero initiative, which once a month highlights a deserving community-minded individual as the 'Community Hero' for a selected match day.
Matt Colley is aiming to cycle through every village in Norfolk and has set himself the ambitious target to complete all 5,000 miles of the challenge by the end of this season to raise awareness and funds for mental health and inclusivity.
"I was diagnosed with depression as a teenager and have suffered from depression and anxiety for more than 20 years. For a long time in my adult life I found it difficult to look after myself and get out of bed in the morning," says the 40-year-old.
A Norwich City season ticket holder since 2008, Matt took up cycling more regularly over lockdown, finding it the perfect formula to improve his own mental and physical wellbeing.
Following the completion of a 640-mile ride for Sir Norman Lamb's Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund in August, he was inspired to set up his own fundraising challenge.
Matt has selected five local organisations who all have a connection to mental health, wellbeing and inclusivity: Norfolk and Waveney Mind, The 12th Man, Norwich Soup Movement, Sir Norman Lamb's Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund and the Club's own Community Sports Foundation - and he has set a fundraising target of over £25,000.
"I've lived in the county since I was four. I love Norfolk, and I thought this would be a really nice way to see every corner of the county while helping to get people talking about mental health."
With 500 miles already chalked up since he began the challenge in September, the scale of the challenge is starting to hit home.
"I felt like 500 miles a month would be a manageable target to balance with my work, and it just seemed a reasonable figure without it taking over my life. But as it happens, it's already started to take over my life, in a major way!
"It's going to get a lot more challenging. The other week I found myself stranded in the pouring rain, seven miles from my car, with a puncture and, as luck would have it, a puncture repair spray that didn't work. My mum bailed me out in that instance, but I know it's not sustainable."
A number of companies have already rallied to support Matt's campaign, and as the challenge grows he's hoping he can rely on the support and goodwill of others to help cover expenses such as petrol, taxi costs and the ever-mounting cost of spare tyres and bike maintenance supplies.
But Matt has no regrets: "I'm loving it so far. I've learnt so much about the history of the county and met some lovely people. The support from everyone has been fantastic, and I hope my efforts will make a real difference."
Do you know a Community Hero? If there is anyone that you think deserves special recognition, whether the individual works in the emergency services, is a carer or charity champion - nominate someone by visiting the Community Hero page on the Club's official website.