GAA Football

GAA clubs across north sign up to Walk A Million for mental health

GAA clubs and community organisations across the north are signing up to take part in the unique Walk a Million Challenge, which will begin on Sunday and run over the course of 109 days.

The challenge will see individuals from within clubs sign up to complete their own one million steps during that time, an average of just over 9,000 steps per day.

The idea is the brainchild of ALPS (All Lives Are Precious), a non-profit organisation based in Downpatrick and run by Frank Diamond and Ronan Gilchrist, both of whom have links with the Mourne area.

ALPS was created in 2014, initially as a Catholic Church project but has since become a standalone entity that has worked with some 40,000 people across Ireland.

Over the last year, the organisation has been providing training to thousands of GAA clubs across the north, and has trained over 500 people specifically in suicide prevention.

In recent weeks, several young people attached to GAA clubs throughout Ulster have sadly taken their own lives.

“As an organisation we felt it important that we reached out to the communities and last week we sat down to think how we can keep raising awareness of positive mental health and continue to help all within the community in terms of suicide prevention,” say the organisers.

The idea for the Walk A Million challenge was first broached with John Mitchel's, Claudy but it soon gained wings and more than 20 GAA clubs have since signed up, including some of the biggest names around.

Alongside All-Ireland club winners like Crossmaglen, Ballinderry and Lavey are a range of football, hurling and camogie clubs, as well as schools and community organisations from around the province.

This Sunday, May 24 will mark the beginning of the challenge on the final day of Mental Health Awareness Week. It will run through until September 10, which is World Suicide Prevention Day.

Each participating club will hold a walk around their facilities on the final day to bring the million steps home.

Clubs and individuals can still sign up, and the challenge can be complete on your own, with family or in a team setting.

Frank Diamond, a native of south Derry and a former priest, has also raised almost £6,500 on his own in the last few weeks by shaving his hair off, with the act having been completed on Saturday.

That money will go towards both Alps and the Kildare branch of Down Syndrome Ireland.

GAA clubs taking part

Antrim: St Gall's, Portglenone, Geraldines Camogie Club, Armoy, St Paul's, Glenavy

Armagh: Crossmaglen

Derry: Claudy, Swatragh, Lavey, Slaughtneil, Ballinderry, Greenlough, Greenlough camogie club, Banagher, Drumsurn, Desertmartin

Down: Downpatrick, Glenn, Darragh Cross

Tyrone: Donaghmore, Eskra, Clonoe, Stewartstown

How to sign up for the Walk A Million Challenge

Visit eventbrite.com and search for ‘Walk A Million'

Direct link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/walk-a-million-tickets-104236899372?fbclid=IwAR0GbE49j_IghdOTJ7CJlDPZ3ZF-wUzbNIdmlMHibHHglavCEfhcTbQsOjA

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GAA Football