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Dublin and Vodafone support mental health charity

Monday, January 23, 2012

Vodafone and Dublin GAA are delighted to announce a unique initiative for the first games of the Allianz National Football and Hurling Leagues that will deliver a timely boost for promotion of mental health issues in Ireland.

The countryÂ?s largest total telecoms provider is to vacate its jersey sponsorship for the much anticipated opening Croke Park Spring Series football league clash with Kerry and hurling league meeting with Galway for the Suicide or Survive Charity (SOS) This is the first time a jersey logo will have been handed over by a sponsor to a charity for a competitive inter-county match.

The undertaking, which will see the SOS logo replace VodafoneÂ?s for the two games, was initiated by and is being promoted through the Vodafone Ireland Foundation, which provides funding annually to a number of Irish charities. SOS Â? an Irish charity focussed on breaking down the stigma associated with mental health and supporting those affected in getting access to quality recovery services - is one of Vodafone Ireland FoundationÂ?s existing charity partners.

The two match initiative Â? for the eagerly awaited football league opener against Kerry on Saturday night, February 4th in Croke Park and the first hurling league game against Galway in Pearse Stadium on February 26th - will be built around a Â?Talk, Listen, ChangeÂ? (TLC) theme. The objective is to encourage people enduring stress and other mental health challenges to open up about their difficulties, seek the support available and by doing so effect a positive change in their mental health.

As part of the promotion, Vodafone and Dublin GAA are asking customers across all networks to donate Â?2 to the SOS charity to help fund its ongoing work in the area of mental health. Subscribers can make the donation by texting the word Â?SOSÂ? to 50300, with the entire proceeds going to the charity.

Announcing the initiative, Vodafone Ireland Strategy Director Paul Ryan said: "Â?Mental health issues are more prevalent in Irish society today than ever before and suicide is now the leading cause of death among young people. That shows how serious the problem is and the Dublin jersey is a great platform to raise awareness of these issues from. We are delighted to support the ongoing campaign around mental health issues by setting aside our logo for the Suicide or Survive charity for these games.”

Said Dublin GAA CEO John Costello: Â?"We didn'Â?t have to think twice when Vodafone came to us with the idea of swapping their logo for that of the Suicide or Survive Charity for these games. With one in four people experiencing mental health problems at some stage in their lives, it is essential that organisations like Dublin GAA and the GAA get behind efforts to encourage people to talk and look for the help thatÂ?s out there.Â?

CEO and founder of SOS Caroline McGuigan described the joint Vodafone-Dublin GAA initiative as one of the most important developments since the organisation was established. Â?This is a wonderful gesture by Vodafone and Dublin GAA. It’s the biggest opportunity we have had as a charity to reach and educate people about mental health issues, not least breaking the stigma around them. Between confirmed suicides and undetermined deaths, itÂ?s estimated that 600 plus people die to suicide each year. ThatÂ?s a two people per-day average, three times the number of deaths in 1980, for example, and three times the number of people killed on our roads.Â?

The Dublin Spring Series in Croke Park will this year involve the footballers’ opening Allianz League clash with Kerry on February 4th, which has the Tyrone v Kildare game as a curtain raiser, plus two football and hurling Allianz League double headers. As with last year’s Dublin Spring Series, the fixtures will include interval performances by some of the country’s best known entertainers. Value is at the core of the Dublin Spring Series initiative, with the events very much priced for the family. Adults can attend all three events for just Â?30 while a childÂ?s ticket for the three fixtures will cost just Â?10. Single match tickets are priced at Â?13 and Â?5 respectively. The Dublin County Board has also embarked on an innovative revenue share scheme whereby Â?1 from every Â?3 generated from ticket sales by Dublin clubs will be returned to them.

Photo: At the announcement were, from left, Dublin footballer Michael Fitzsimons, Dublin hurler Conal Keaney, CEO and founder of SOS Caroline McGuigan, former World Boxing Champion Bernard Dunne and Dublin footballer James McCarthy.

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