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Mayor announces AWARE as chosen charity for year in office

19 June 2017

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor MaolĂ­osa McHugh, has officially launched mental health support group AWARE as his chosen charity for his year in office.

The Derry founded group provide guidance and support for sufferers of depression and bipolar disorder through a network of 24 support groups in rural and urban areas across Northern Ireland.

The Mayor will donate the proceeds from a number of his events over the next year to the charity, including the Mayor’s Family Fun Day, Christmas Choral Festival and Charity Flag Day as well as supporting the AWARE Mood Walk in the City in September.

Speaking at Friday’s launch, Mayor McHugh expressed his hope that his year in office would not only raise much needed funds for AWARE but that it would increase awareness and understanding of the crucial daily work they carry out in the local community.

“I am delighted to announce that AWARE are my chosen charity,” he said. “Their trained volunteers do so much life changing work on the ground to provide support and hope for sufferers of mental illness as well as offering crucial respite and guidance for carers.

“Depression, bipolar and other associated mental illnesses have touched the lives of so many individuals and families across our City and District.

“Many local people are bravely battling the symptoms on a daily basis and I am proud that my year in office can play a small part in helping to offer them the vital support they need while also highlighting the issue in the public’s consciousness.”    

AWARE have offices in both Derry and Belfast and, as well as support groups, deliver information sessions in the local community, schools, colleges, universities and workplaces.

The charity believe that the people who use their services should have a say in their development and delivery and therefore employ people with experience of depression at every level in the organisation.

Director of Fundraising and Communications at AWARE, Teresa Sloan, said the money raised during the Mayor’s year in office can make a life saving difference to the charity’s work locally.

“We are absolutely delighted to have been selected by the Mayor to be his chosen charity partner for 2017/18,” she said “AWARE is a Derry born charity founded 21 years ago in the City and currently has 24 Support Groups throughout Northern Ireland with many of them situated in the North West.

“The money raised as part of this charity partnership will allow us to continue running these vital support groups which are saving lives on a daily basis.

“As well as this, we also offer mental health and wellbeing programmes into communities, schools and workplaces throughout Northern Ireland.

“It is partnerships like the one we now have with the Mayor that allow us to continue to deliver and to grow these services,” she added.

Further information on AWARE is available on the group’s website www.aware-ni.org.

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