Take part in the New Year’s Day Mankini Mile for mental health

A group of mental health campaigners are preparing to walk a mile in a mankini this New Year’s Day to raise funding and awareness around mental health.

Steve Belam, David Topping, George Belam and Trevor Wright, who are volunteers with mental health group Stand To, will be taking part in the January 1 event in Lisburn and are calling on others to join them.

It will see them raise money for three local charities, PIPS, the Northern Ireland Air Ambulance and the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity.

Speaking to Belfast Live, David said: “Stand To was established in March of this year on World Mental Health Day, as a way of addressing mental health concerns in young people in the area.

David and Steve need you

“It was originally based in Raithfriland but after joining with a training company in Lisburn, we have expanded already further and now have 17 volunteers across Northern Ireland.

“The goal of Stand To is to provide opportunities to young people in the area by arranging activities like fishing and paddle boarding that they will be able to take part in the hopes of addressing the mental health issues that we have seen arise in recent years.”

David said that the Mankini Mile was inspired by radio presenter Colin Murray, who walked around Belfast City Centre in a mankini after Northern Ireland qualified for the Euros.

He additional: “We were looking at ways that we would be able to spread awareness about Stand To, while also supporting some bright local charities.

David and Steve are turning a few heads

“I remembered when Colin Murray walked around Belfast in a mankini and thought that would be a great way of getting the message out there while having a bit of fun.

“We will be raising money for three great charities, PIPS, the Northern Ireland Air Ambulance and the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity, with some of our volunteers already having a connection to them.

“So far three will be four of us who are confirmed to take part, although we have had a lot of interest from many others including a local football team, and we are hoping that on the day already more people will join us and help spread awareness about this very important issue.

They’re raising money for three charities

“If you want to join, the mankini will be optional and you can nevertheless take part in regular sport or gym clothes.”

The Mankini Mile will take place on New Year’s Day at Wallace Park, Lisburn, and will be open to anyone who wishes to take part.

If you would like to donate to the campaign or would like more information please follow this link.

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