SPIRITED staff and service users will stride for 10 miles to mark the start of a mental health charity's new challenge.

A team from Oxford accommodation provider Response will tomorrow embark on a tiring stroll from their Littlemore base to Abingdon, and back again.

The walk will launch a new fundraiser, the Active Miles Challenge, which asks Response staff, residents and community supporters to complete a combined total of 278.1 miles in sponsored exercise.

The total must be achieved by December through any means of measurable exercise - such as walking or swimming - and is apparently the equivalent of walking from Oxford to Paris.

It is the latest in a series of fundraisers staged by the charity, which provides accommodation to people with poor mental health.

Emily Crossing, an occupational therapist at Response, said: "There is a big push on physical health at the minute and this is an opportunity for residents to achieve goals to get fitter, and feel a part of a team.

"They have really taken ownership of it.

"Most people [with ill mental health] feel very isolated - we wanted to break down those barriers and do something fun."

In 2016 Response staff completed the National Three Peaks Challenge, raising more than £2,000.

The organisation offers various levels of supported accommodation, including Response Recovery Campus, which provides intensive care.

Miss Crossing said: "We are a stepping stone for them to learn skills and to become independent.

"For a lot of people here, we are all they have."

The challenge will mainly raise cash to support services, but some will be put aside to buy Christmas presents for residents at Response Recovery.

Marlin Rogers, a resident at one of Response's sites, is among those walking.

He said: "Not all residents get to see their families very often and every year a Christmas present is a nice gesture from staff.

"Without the present, Christmas is not as enjoyable for some residents.

"I am also doing this for a personal challenge of losing weight and for better mental health, because walking helps me clear my head and think of positive thoughts."

To contribute to Response's number of sponsored miles, email laura.boone@response.org.uk.

To donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/activemile.