Raphoe’s two secondary schools – The Royal and Prior and Deele College – will join forces this weekend when they host a fund raising cycle and 5k event to promote positive mental health on Saturday morning.
The fantastic initiative is a joint venture between the Parents Associations of both schools and Graham Neilands, secretary of the Royal and Prior Parents Association, says they are hopeful of a huge community response.
“Mental health issues can affect anyone and – having run this event last year in our own school with great success – we decided it would be good to try and widen it out even further in the community by asking Deele College if they also wanted to take part. We met with the Parents Association at Deele and they were very enthusiastic about the idea and were delighted to be part of it.”
Funds raised from the weekend’s cycle and 5k will go towards the Amber Flag – an initiative that aims to encourage schools, colleges, clubs and societies to promote and actively bring about a culture change in the promotion of positive mental health within the educational system and other organisations.
Students in both schools have also been involved in a series of mental health awareness projects this week in the run-up to Saturday’s cycle and 5k.
“I know that there has been a ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ initiative and students have been wearing Amber Flag wristbands, all working towards a greater awareness of mental health issues. Hopefully it will encourage the students to be aware of the existence of mental health problems and know as well that there is help available and it is ok to ask for it.”
But the organisers of Saturday’s event say they also want that message to go beyond the confines of their schools and into the wider community.
“Saturday’s event is very much a social event, one to get people from the community out together, talking and having some fun. We’re hoping that it can have a huge positive impact.”
While one of the cycle routes on Saturday morning will run for 33 miles, there is also a shorter 10-mile route, while the fun 5k is open to all runners and walkers.
Both events start and finish at the Royal and Prior school carparks and registration for the cycle (€10 for adult €5 for student) takes place from 9-9.45 with the cyclists off at 10am
The 5k registration (€5 or €2 for U12s) takes place from 9am-10.30am with an 11am start. Under 12s must be accompanied by an adult and there will be refreshments in the Royal and Prior school canteen afterwards.