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Bank campaign to help AWARE expand support network

  • AWARE, the depression charity for Northern Ireland, is aiming to enhance and expand its support group network, including the establishment of a bespoke service for young people aged 18-25, in a new partnership with Ulster Bank.   

    “Our weekly and fortnightly support sessions are a lifeline for many who attend, as discussing and sharing experiences with fellow sufferers and AWARE facilitators is an essential element of the recovery process.” explained Teresa Sloan, AWARE’s Director of Fundraising and Communications.

    “Anyone from any background, gender, religion or ethnicity can develop a mental illness and we want to encourage people to speak up, act and reach out for help at an early stage.  It is actually a sign of strength that people want to do something positive and at AWARE we need to be able to respond to local needs by offering additional group sessions on a more frequent basis.

    “Funds raised by Ulster Bank staff will enable us to set up new groups in different urban and rural locations across Northern Ireland. We will also be able to further enhance and strengthen our existing support groups as well as drive forward our new Young People Support Group which is currently being piloted in Omagh.

    ‘This pilot 18-25 group has been set up in response to an identified need where there has been a number of suicides and self-harm. It is AWARE’s aim to launch the group later in July offering weekly sessions and if successful we hope to rollout similar groups in other parts of Northern Ireland.”                 

    Thousands of staff from across Ulster Bank’s 44 branches are embarking upon a wide range of fundraising activities from cycling, walking and zip-lining to cinema nights, golf outings, concerts and hosting customer tea, coffee and cakes events.

    The annual staff led summer campaign takes place from 18 to 22 June however staff alongside their family and friends will take on additional challenges ahead of the main fundraising week to help generate as much cash as possible to help AWARE. 

    Terry Robb, Head of Personal Banking at Ulster Bank is joining a local support group. “I’m delighted that our staff have chosen to support the vital and excellent work carried out by AWARE and I wanted to gain an appreciation of how a support group works and see its impact on everyday lives.

    Since its inception, One Week in June has raised over £630,000 for good causes in Northern Ireland. I’ve no doubt that everyone will make this year’s campaign just as successful in raising funds and awareness for a good cause. Year on year staff devise ever more creative and exciting events to raise funds, from fire engine pulls to sky-dives to a Rory McIlroy style ‘washing machine’ golf challenge. This year I’ll be washing cars, climbing Slieve Donard and serving breakfast to my colleagues - I’m really looking forward to it and I know my colleagues area as well.”           

    Ulster Bank supported entrepreneur and founder of floatation and wellness centre Hydro-ease, Vivian McKinnon, will lead a trek to the top of Slieve Donard where she will hold a mindfulness mini-course at the summit. Vivian along with AWARE ambassadors Lynda Bryans and Paulo Ross joined Ulster Bank’s Terry Robb, Teresa Sloan from AWARE and mascots Huggsy and Henry Hippo to launch the new partnership and fundraising drive on  Divis Mountain, Belfast.

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