The High Sheriff of Leicestershire is inviting everyone to join her in ‘giving something up’ for one day on April 20th. The ‘Choose Your Fast’ initiative has been created to reconnect communities, as well as raise money for local charities.
The community-led initiative is the idea of Leicestershire’s newest High Sheriff, Mehmooda Duke MBE DL, and connecting communities will form the theme of her year in office.
What will you give up?
What you decide to give up is down to you: it could be a day-long digital detox, fruit-only, water-only, or you could go all the way and opt for nil by mouth. But, whatever you decide, the ambition is that we all break the fast together at 20:15 (sunset), friend to friend, neighbour to neighbour in a display of solidarity.
Ms Duke, who took office of High Sheriff of Leicestershire at the end of March represents only the seventh woman in over 1000 years to hold this office and the second-ever woman from a diverse community in the County, comments, “Reconnecting communities seems especially pertinent as we emerge post-lockdown and as we witness the atrocities in places like Ukraine. I felt that doing something as a community to bring us all together – like clapping on the doorstep did in the pandemic – would be a positive and visible way to remember what we have all just come through together – and remind us of the power that a strong community has.”
What does fasting teach you?
The High Sheriff adds, “Fasting teaches self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice, and empathy for those who are less fortunate, encouraging actions of generosity. It also helps to recalibrate the mind and body with many health benefits linked to temporary or intermittent fasting. I thought it was good to stop for a day and think about others, those who are without, those who are suffering, and those we can help through fasting.”
Benefiting from the High Sheriff’s initiative will be Warning Zone, Healing Little Hearts, STEPS and Leicestershire County Cricket Club Foundation.
And it has already garnered high profile support from Director of Public Health at Leicester City Council, Ivan Browne.
He says, “For so many of us, the events of recent months and years have been challenging in so many ways. The speed of the changes that we have had to adjust to has been relentless. It feels as though we need a collective time to pause and reflect and do something that helps us to refocus for a while. This is why I believe the initiative of abstaining from something that is important to us for a period (fasting) is such a powerful means of doing this.
It allows us to use that time and space that would have otherwise been spent focusing on the routines of our life to instead be used to reflect internally or on others and possibly important things that we may have side-lined for too long. Taking this sort of timeout can really benefit both our mental and physical health if carried out appropriately.”
Getting involved is easy – follow these five steps:
- Choose Your Fast – decide what you are giving up from sunrise to sunset.
- Spread the word – tell your friends and neighbours.
- Tag two people – on social media – LinkedIn, FB, Insta, Tik Tok.
- Break your fast together at 8.15pm – with friends, neighbours, family. Share pics and videos on SM of what you gave up and how you felt.
- Choose a charity – if you want to and get fund raising.
Remember to use the hashtags #ChooseYourFast #FastingTogether
Ms Duke will break her fast with invited members of the community at Evington’s St Philip’s Church on the 20th April for a special ‘Celebration of Fasting Across Communities’. Guests will hear from speakers talking about fasting from different perspectives: health, sport, mental health and different faiths. They will, of course, break the fast together as a community.
Main Image Credit: Ms Duke and her Cadets and Junior Consorts.
Left to right
Evony Higgins – Junior Consort
Philip Scarborough – Police Cadet
High Sheriff – Mehmooda Duke MBE DL
Anna Barnes – Police Cadet
Zaara Moosa – Junior Consort