AWARE Celebrates 20 Years in Derry
AWARE recently kicked off its 20-year anniversary events in the Guildhall.
Hosted by the Lord Mayor, Cllr. Elisha McCallion, the event reflected on the early days of the charity by hearing from its founding members, Gerry Ward and Dr Pat McKeon, as well as its current Chief Executive, Siobhan Doherty.
The audience, which was made up from a range of volunteers, members of the public and participants from AWARE’s 23 support groups, also heard from three service users, Mark Kelly, Jarlath McCreanor and Rory Hughes who discussed how AWARE helped them through their dark days suffering with depression and bipolar disorder. These moving stories really brought home the important work the charity has carried out since 1996.
Speaking about the event, Siobhan Doherty said,
“This was a very emotive event that made me proud to be involved in AWARE. It’s amazing to think that the charity is still going strong after 20 years and we put this down to the excellent work carried out by our volunteers who deliver our programmes across Derry and beyond. AWARE’s mission is to reach out to more people in their own communities offering support that's proven time and time again to help people on their recovery from this devastating illness. We still have a long way to go to breakdown the stigma of mental health, but during this milestone year we will be working hard to meet this challenge.”
The Guildhall also came alive with uplifting songs from FirstSource Inspire Choir and Olivia McBride who is a pupil at St Cecilia’s College and who won AWARE’s Singing Star North West competition last year.
20 years | AWARE | Depression | Elisha McCallion | Guildhall | Mayor of Derry