Published September 14, 2018 at 11:28
Blackburn Rovers have pledged their support to the World Suicide Prevention Day activity happening this week in the borough.
Following Blackburn with Darwen Council’s public vigil on Monday, September 10, the football club have followed suit by taking Saturday’s home match against Aston Villa as an opportunity to further raise awareness to its supporters.
Rovers will be replicating the 40 seconds’ silence held at the Council’s vigil before kick-off – to signify the fact that one person dies of suicide around the world every 40 seconds – and will be asking every supporter inside the stadium to take part.
They will also be showing a video on the big screen at Ewood Park to promote the Zero Suicide Alliance, which the Council has joined forces with.
The Zero Suicide Alliance’s coalition of like-minded partners are working together to help rid the UK of suicide by initially raising awareness of a free online suicide prevention training programme.
The club will also use its matchday programme to further raise awareness to supporters.
The Council was delighted to welcome Rovers officials to its vigil on Monday including finance director Mike Cheston and the Community Trust’s NCS recruitment and graduation officer Jade Elliott. They were joined by two inspiring young individuals, Kelly and Shannon, who are part of the NCS Youth Board that meets at Ewood Park.
Having been part of the NCS programme that encourages young people to challenge themselves and put something back into their local community, Kelly and Shannon have remained an active part of the organisation following their graduation and helped to raise money for local mental health support charities in the aftermath of losing their friend Tiegan O’Rourke to suicide last Christmas.
Monday’s vigil was designed to kick start a year-long programme of events, activities, training opportunities and suicide awareness raising in the borough, following the Council’s decision to choose suicide prevention as one its key corporate campaigns to support this year.
Councillor Brian Taylor, Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care, said:
Rovers’ supporter base is wide-reaching and, with this game being on Sky, it’s fantastic we can get the messages around Word Suicide Prevention Day out so far and wide. It feels like there’s a real momentum behind all of our collective efforts to support this vitally important agenda.
Gary Robinson, CEO of Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, said:
Our charity passionately supports mental health related causes on a year-round basis and we’re particularly proud of the work undertaken by the NCS Youth Board in our name, delivering great initiatives and fundraising to help local people in some of their darkest hours.
We are delighted that these inspirational youngsters were represented at Blackburn with Darwen Council’s vigil, which is an excellent initiative for awareness of this important issue, and we look forward to seeing the response this weekend when we help to portray the message to a vibrant Ewood Park crowd and potentially a vast watching audience on Sky Sports too.