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Hannahstown lights up for walk of hope

COMMUNITY SPIRIT: Residents of Glenmeen, Hannahstown, took time to decorate their street in preparation for Darkness into Light walk 2018
COMMUNITY SPIRIT: Residents of Glenmeen, Hannahstown, took time to decorate their street in preparation for Darkness into Light walk 2018
By Caoimhe Quinn

EXCITEMENT is building as hundreds of people from Belfast and beyond are getting ready to wake up and walk from Darkness into Light in aid of suicide prevention and mental health awareness this weekend.
Participants in more than 170 locations, including Hannahstown, will walk a 5km route to raise funds for Pieta House and local affiliate charity, Suicide Awareness.
Thanking the community for their hard work, Peter Kane from the organising committee said they have no shortage of volunteers wishing to steward the event, decorate the route of the walk or to help with catering arrangements for the night.
“Our phones have not stopped this week with individuals and groups wanting to register or to be involved, one volunteer even made over 900 ribbons for us,” he enthused. “It’s also been great to see local organisations weighing in behind us providing torches, lighting, stewards, water, food and even help obtaining a marquee from Belfast City Council Community Parks outreach team – it’s truly been a community event.”
Jim McCormick, Chair of Darkness Into Light Hannahstown Committee, said they hope to match the “overwhelming” support they received last year that helped raise nearly £30k for Suicide Awareness in West Belfast and Pieta House.
“Our main goal now is to get as many people to register as possible, from individuals, local businesses, sports groups, schools and community-based organis-ations signing up teams of people to register and show their support. No sponsorship is required, just a registration fee and your commitment to walk or run this Saturday, May 12, alongside the hundreds in the local community who have already registered along with their family and friends for what promises to be a dander that will make a real difference.”
Margaret Walker of Suicide Awareness revealed they received a total of £13,649.36 last autumn from Pieta House, which allowed them to help over 100 local families bereaved by suicide, and also individuals in suicidal crisis, to be able to access additional counselling and therapies.
“In the past there would have been only one family member perhaps willing to seek our help, but now we have several members from the one family supporting each other and getting the assistance they need,” she explained. “Not only is the money raised this year going to be put to great use again in our community but the whole Darkness Into Light concept is about creating awareness that there is someone out there you can talk to and there is light after the dark times and that’s what we hope we can deliver for our service users.”
This year a Wall of Hope has been added to the event where those who have lost someone to suicide can place the name of their loved one on a yellow ribbon on the wall and it will remain on display in the Lámh Dhearg club grounds for the duration of the week after the event.
Event Information
All participants are encouraged to wear warm clothing. The Darkness into Light route will be closed to all traffic from 3.30am to 6.30am and all participants are asked to follow all safety signage and instructions given by the stewards.
A long stay car park is available at the Lámh Dhearg carpark and will be open to participants from 3am and operated on a first come first serve basis until 3.30am. It will remain closed from 3.30am until everyone has completed the course (approximately 6am, say organisers). Parking is available for Blue badge holders at Lámh Dhearg clubrooms.
Anyone wishing to leave straight after completing the course should park in the short stay car park at St Joseph’s church car park minutes away on the Hannahstown Hill.
A park and ride facility will also operate from Kennedy Centre with bus leaving at 3.15am sharp and will return from Hannahstown at approximately 6.15am.
There will be no storage for personal items during the event, so participants are advised to arrive ready to walk/run.
If you would like to take part there’s still time. Simply visit http://dil.pieta.ie/event-information/venues/hannahstown

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