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Bringing mental health into the open...

22 July 2016

On 16th July Rotherham United Community Sports Trust (RUCST) hosted, in partnership with Damian Kitson, Chairman Treeton Terriers JFC, a Gala Dinner to bring Mental Health into the open. The Black Tie event, including 3 course dinner, live music, auctions, raffle and disco had 3 clear aims: Fun, fundraising and raising awareness of mental illness.

Two mental health ambassadors shared their experiences. Clarke Carlisle, a former professional footballer who has played for clubs including Leeds, QPR and Burnley to name a few and is the former PFA Chairman talked openly about his experiences as did Damian Kitson, a local man who has been key to making this happen alongside RUCST to break the stigma.

The night was summed up in one comment from a guest on the night “We had a fantastic night in great company. Truly brave, captivating and brutally honest speeches from both speakers. Great hosts, music and food”

There were over 230 guests on the night with Peter Elliot and Clarke Carlisle supporting the event from the world of sport.

The night raised over £4,500 which will go to 5 concerns; Clarke Carlisle’s Dual Diagnosis Foundation, RUCST, Treeton Terriers, Rotherham Harriers and Rotherham mind. But most importantly the night raised awareness of mental illness and opened up the discussion in a public way to get the community talking.

Both Jamie Noble, Head of the Community Sports Trust and Damian Kitson, speaker on the night both believe that the mind and body if looked after in equal measure can help to support individuals to prevent and recover.

Damian says “Bringing mental health into the open is so important for those who are suffering in silence. This event is aimed at bringing the debate wider to both business and the community. The more we talk, the more we help others feel confident to seek help”

This fits perfectly with the partners involved in the Gala Dinner, Rotherham Mind who have been providing community mental health support since 1977 and currently offers services to Adults in the community.

Rotherham United Community Sports Trust launched their Sport England funded Mental Health project in September 2014, this is a programme that aims to create sporting, training and volunteering opportunities for adults in Rotherham with mental health issues. The project brings a different element to the trusts work meaning they are able to explore different avenues within Rotherham and provide support for local people within the community which once were out of reach.

Jamie Noble (Head of Community) Said “We were delighted to host this fantastic event with our partners, the night certainly created an open and positive message that it is ok to talk about mental illness, which will help to break down barriers and challenge the stigma”

Additional information on Damian’s challenges for 2016:

Damian is aiming to run 2 marathons and 3 half marathons this year to open up the debate and has shared his story on his website. Read more at , where there are also basic materials to support people struggling with mental illness.

Club Website:
Trust Website:
Facebook: Rotherham United Community Sports Trust
Twitter: @RU_CST

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