THE spectacle that is the ‘Cycle Against Suicide’ arrives in Stranorlar on Wednesday, April 27, and the organisers are currently seeking beds for the 300 weary riders.
Basically, the people of the Twin Towns are being asked to offer a spare bed in their home to a cyclist and to provide them with a dinner before they set off for Donegal town the following morning. Volunteers are also needed to make sandwiches and tea, act as road marshals or just cheer on the riders.
More than 800 people die by suicide on the island of Ireland each year. Cycle Against Suicide aims to affect change by beginning a conversation about mental health; spreading the message that ‘It’s OK not to feel OK; and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help’ into schools, businesses and communities.
The organisers are encouraging locals to register for the cycle, www.cycleagainstsuicide.com/register, or volunteer to help out with the event, which will see up to 1,000 cyclists travel from Cookstown to Stranorlar via Omagh on Wednesday, April 27.
During the cycle, informative events will be hosted in various locations along the route. Here, speakers ranging from celebrities to mental health professionals will present at schools. A list of participating schools is available on www.cycleagainstsuicide.com. There are also updates on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.
The next day, St Columba’s Secondary School, Stranorlar, will hold a mental health event comprising of presentations, videos, music, celebrity speakers, entertainment and an exhibition of local mental health services.
Central to the success of Cycle Against Suicide is the Homestay Programme. People throughout our island welcome participants of the event into their homes.
Hosts provide cyclists with a warm meal, a chance to freshen up, and a bed for the night. Feedback from homestay hosts indicates that this experience has been extremely rewarding, as it allows hosts to lend support in a very tangible way.
Local Homestay Co-ordinator, Aoife Lyons, said there is still time for people to offer accommodation to participants for a night when the cycle passes through Stranorlar.
“The number of cyclists registering for Cycle Against Suicide is increasing year on year. As a result, we need more accommodation for cyclists and crew. We are more than happy to avail of as many spare beds as possible. Of course, we’ll also need many volunteers to help make our time in Stranorlar memorable. Whether it is sandwich-makers, road marshals, or simply, people standing at the side of the road to cheer on the cycle, we can all play our part in breaking the cycle of suicide on the island of Ireland.”
The local Homestay Co-ordinators for home stays are Aoife Lyons and Niamh McGill, who can be contacted on 0868895815 and 0862289092 respectively.
If you would like to volunteer with Cycle Against Suicide, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information see www.cycleagainstsuicide.com, where you can also register for some, or all, of the fourteen days of the Cycle Against Suicide 2016.