Inspire Community Wellbeing Service at The Junction welcome gift recently in the form of a donation of £960 from a bunch of intrepid fundraisers who have christened themselves the ‘Gallion Hallions’.
County Tyrone personal trainer Keith Clarke from Deca Garage and a group of other intrepid souls got together just before Christmas to take on Slieve Gallion in an effort to raise funds to help the Community Wellbeing Service in Dungannon where Keith volunteers on a regular basis.
Inspire Mental Health is a charity that works to improve wellbeing for those living with a mental health diagnosis across the province through the provision of supported housing, floating support services, community wellbeing service and advocacy services.
Keith helps run a regular fitness class for Inspire at The Junction and it was seeing how someone’s mental state can be improved by exercise and physical activity that gave him the idea for his endurance fundraiser.
He designed an inclusive fitness challenge that allowed some of the people using this Community Wellbeing service to participate, whilst giving the opportunity for a more strenuous personal fitness test for those other ‘hallions’ taking part who wanted to push themselves to the limit physically.
The result was a 36 hour long continuous climbing session that saw Keith ascend and descend Slieve Gullion a staggering 20 times, covering in total a distance equivalent to 120 miles.
Speaking about why he took on this colossal challenge, Keith said: “I really enjoy volunteering with Inspire at The Junction and doing my bit to help the mental health of the people there who are such a lovely bunch.
“Being in The Junction gives me the chance to see just how needed a service like this is for people who are experiencing mental health issues but I know they sometimes struggle to find the funds for activities, classes and workshops that really help to improve the lives of those who go there.
“I was more than happy to do what I could to help raise a bit of money to help this great service out and I would encourage others to do something to help them too, they really do great things there that make such a big difference.”
Joanne Curran, Manager of the Community Wellbeing Service is extremely grateful to Keith for his efforts she said: “Through our services we try to promote the development of hope which creates the opportunity for individuals to regain control of their lives.
“Anyone of us could experience mental ill-health at any time in our lives, which can leave people feeling isolated, vulnerable and unsure of where to turn. Here at Inspire Mental Health we work to instill the belief that positive change can become a reality by supporting them to achieve their full potential and re-establish a positive identity.
“The efforts of the likes of Keith helps our service to be able to fund and develop activities and initiatives that give people those opportunities to develop new skills, create new connections and move forward on their journey of recovery.
“It also means a great deal to see people like Keith care enough about them to do something to help, after all, we all need a bit of help from others sometimes.”
The efforts of the ‘Gallion Hallions’ was so successful that along with the £960 raised by Keith, nearly another £200 was subsequently donated by admiring supporters of his wonderful efforts.
The donations will make a huge difference but Joanne is always keen to urge more people to think about supporting mental health, she said: “Our service always welcomes anyone like Keith who has as expertise or skill that they might like to volunteer to help people experience something new, and of course as a charity, we always welcome any donations to help fund and develop our services.”
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