BALLYMENA’s Fairhill Shopping Centre is partnering with mental health charity, AWARE, to raise much-needed funds for their charity and to help fund a new support group in the area.
With one in every four people suffering from mental health at any stage in their life, the traders and staff at the shopping centre have decided to do something about it and assist not just themselves but engage with the wider community to make a real difference.
AWARE is the Depression Charity for Northern Ireland and the only mental health charity in Northern Ireland working exclusively to help those affected by depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, which can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or race.
Natalie Jackson, centre manager said: “Too often I hear of someone dealing with depression or mental health and I’m not sure of the tools required to help.
“This year I’m very pleased that the Traders’ Association has chosen this charity as now we can make a real difference to those suffering mental health as well as being better prepared ourselves as managers and colleagues in how to deal with it.
“Our first event will be to deliver expert training to the staff and managers within the centre to help build a mentally healthy workplace.
“Thereafter, we intend to run a number of fundraising events as well as activities to promote awareness around mental health where we will be asking the public to come and enjoy and engage some of the activities we’ve planned.”
Clare Galbraith, Fundraising Manager of AWARE, said: “Ballymena is one area where we do not have a support group. With the help of those in the Fairhill Shopping Centre we are going to change that.
“Natalie (Jackson), the centre manager, has some great ideas around activities to raise awareness of mental health. These include painting mood stones and creating a mood wall, which will hopefully then be erected within the centre.
“For fundraising, we facilitate many events which the public can get involved in including abseiling, marathons, our annual Mood Walk events and a dragon boat race at various times throughout the year but we are also very excited about some bespoke events we hope to plan with the Fairhill Shopping Centre, traders and staff.
“I’d like to say wholeheartedly a big thank you to the Fairhill Shopping Centre and the Traders’ Association. I am looking forward to see what the next year will bring and the difference that we can make together.”