The New Year began as most years do – with the traditional renewed hope for bigger and better things – a trademark of human nature. But 2020 had other things in store, for everyone, the world over.
For two months of 2020 we lived life in our own personal normality – then Covid-19 struck and turned everything on its head. And Action Mental Health, like most organisations throughout Northern Ireland and further afield, especially charities, braced itself for the unknown.
However, our wonderful supporters responded in typically resilient fashion. Myriad fun, scary and novel fundraising events were planned to raise money to support Action Mental Health’s wide-ranging recovery and resilience services for all ages, but Covid-19 plunged everything into uncertainty.
From sponsored abseils, walks, runs and rows, to Elfie parties, high teas and much more besides, the restrictive impact of the coronavirus have fired the imaginations of supporters. It has also acted as a catalyst for generous supporters to make personal donations, with many loyal – and countless new – friends of Action Mental Health setting up direct debits to help support the charity.
We have also seen our clients getting involved, with many taking on personal challenges to help raise funds and also to help provide them with an activity and a focus to help support their own mental health, whilst helping negate the isolation and other impacts of lockdown.
Fundraising is the backbone of much of the charity’s work and revolves around all our own services which we have in place to promote better mental health. Layered with the physical well-being that is characterised by much of our fundraisers’ efforts, the two elements have been more intertwined throughout 2020, despite the extraordinary difficulties and logistical challenges we have all faced.
Fundraising and Communications Manager Jonathan Smyth has praised the lengths people have gone to, to fulfil their fundraising commitments, despite the pandemic.
“We had so many events planned and even when the first total lockdown struck and we were largely confined to our homes, save for a single physical activity per day, people who had pledged to fundraise for Action Mental Health didn’t disappoint us. Despite all the obstacles, they managed to adapt their plans within the strict regulations.
“There has been such a massive variety of fundraising that has taken place in the community, illustrating a level of passion, innovation and determination of our supporters, that we have been blown away by. There have been running challenges, cycling, swimming, rowing, quizzes, people donating through their own talents, for example music, art and crafts and an endless list of other ways,” he added.