About the gratitude games

The Gratitude Games has been created to provide a national community asset that thanks all of our Emergency Responders and raises funds to support their mental health.

The Games will be the centre-piece of our fundraising programme and will become a major, annual, multi-sports event, open to serving and retired members of the Emergency Responders Sector (and their families) with some mass-participation events also open to the public.

Purpose and mission

"Our vision is a nation in which all Emergency Responders are supported in their mental health"

The Gratitude Games will:

Generate Funds

to establish a measurable improvement in the state of mental health in the Emergency Responders sector

Raise awareness

of the mental health challenges faced by Emergency Responders


the daily commitment the Emergency Responders make in serving the public

Provide a platform

to improve physical and mental wellbeing and bring Emergency Responders together

The Cause

What is it all about?

The array of incidents Emergency Responders attend can take its toll on mental health.  The Gratitude Games has been created to provide sustainable funding to protect the people who protect the people
  • 1 in 4 (27%) Emergency Service workers have considered ending their lives due to stress and other factors
  • For example, every two weeks a serving police offer takes their own life
  • 62% of Emergency Service workers say they have experienced a mental health problem
  • Recent polling shows that 50% of NHS workers said their mental health had declined since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic* with anxiety, stress and depression the most reported reasons for a marked increase in absence**
  • YouGov poll for the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) on 22nd  April 2020 Sample of 996 healthcare workers across the UK
  • NHS Digital – Sickness Absence Rates April 2020 (published 20th August 2020)
  • Mind: Mental Health in the Emergency Services Survey 2018/19


The Charity

UK Emergency Services Giving Ltd (UKESG) has been established to support essential improvements in the mental health of UK Emergency Responders. 

The Gratitude Games is the fundraising part of the charity and aims to create a sustainable income source to fund better access to mental health support services for all Emergency Responders and NHS staff. 

All profits from the Gratitude Games will be deployed through existing specialist organisations, including: 

  • Police Care UK
  • The Fire Fighters Charity
  • The Ambulance Staff Charity
  • Duty To Care (NHS)
UK Emergency Services Giving & the Gratitude Games

Who are we?

Co-Founders and Directors of the project

Mike Downard Gratitude Games

Mike Downard - Founder/Director

Mike has over 18 years frontline service as a Crew Commander within Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service.  Concerned by the current state of mental health, support and provision, he developed the Games.

The Games will bring the Emergency Services and the public together, to raise the vital funds needed to support the mental health of those who serve.
Simon Rider Gratitude Games

Simon Rider - Founder/Director

Simon (Sam) has been in branded sports and fashion retail for over 40 years.

Inspired by Mike’s vision, Sam has committed his experience in transformation and start-up projects to help deliver the vision for the Games.
Debi Heath French Gratitude Games

Debi Heath French

Debi is ex British Army and through her own not-for-profit organisation Forces Equine, has a proven passion for supporting frontline services and Emergency Responders.

Mike approached Debi to run the Equestrian leg of the Games, she embraced what it was going to achieve for the Emergency services community. Her company WA Designs, donated two websites.

Our Delivery Partners

With special thanks to our delivery partners.