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On Saturday 24th October Empowerment Charity hosted a socially distanced celebration for six of the fifteen young men who completed the ‘Hiking For Mental Health Challenge’.

This challenge was set up by Joe Darnell after one of his friends Josh Buchanan broke the news of his step father Glen Southern sadly losing his life to suicide. The friendship group came together to try and raise awareness of mental health and the importance of talking about feelings of suicide by completing a hiking challenge.

After a quick search online they decided to raise money for Empowerment Charity due to having several services dedicated to helping Blackpool residents with their mental health. Their target was to raise £2000 and buy a bench in memory of Josh’s dad. In total they smashed their target and raised a whopping £4,615.00!

About a month after the Hike (which was widely publicised through social media within Blackpool) local lad, Elliot Taylor, sadly lost his life to suicide. Elliot was friends with some of the lads who were in the Hiking For Mental Health group and as you can imagine was a massive blow again to this group.

Admirably, these lads have decided that more awareness is needed and have made plans to hike Coast to Coast and complete the three peaks challenge – anything to raise awareness and get people talking.

It was during this time the Taylor family also decided that they wanted to donate any monies raised in memory of Elliot to Empowerment Charity. Together the Hiking for Mental Health group and the Taylor family, with support from Empowerment, want to create a space within the Empowerment Sanctuary garden where support can be accessed specifically for young men.

When the target of £10,000 has been reached there will be a building dedicated in Elliot’s memory and called ‘Elliot’s Place’. There will also be access to on-site counselling, Peer support activities and group activities, all led by the young men who will use it.

The project will launch at 9am on 19th November during the International Mens’ Day virtual celebration.

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