Flying the 'Hues of Blues' flag to raise money for mental health services on the north coast
The event will take place at the home game between the Bannsiders and Glenavon on Saturday, October 7 when 1000 Limited Edition “Hues of Blues” flags will stand-out in the stadium in a show of solidarity for World Mental Health Day which takes place on October 10 this year. Its theme for 2023, chosen by the World Health Organisation (WHO), is ‘Mental Health is a Universal Human Right.”
The fixture will be sponsored by the Portstewart based Hummingbird Project, a unique Social Enterprise run by a team of mental health experts all of whom have lived experience of having had mental ill health themselves. They use a combination of their professional skills and personal experience to help others.
The spectacle, carrying the hashtag #WereYouThere, will mark a memorable day in the Club’s history, as hundreds of flags bedeck the stadium for the first time. The focus will be on football but also the importance of good mental fitness among players, officials, spectators, and many more beyond the event – all standing up to smash the stigma that still surrounds mental health.
Jimmy McAleese, Development Director at The Hummingbird Project, said: “This special occasion provides an opportunity for our community, workplaces and fanbase to come together as an unstoppable force for good, to raise awareness and funds for mental fitness projects along the North Coast.
“The Hummingbird Project will provide 1000 large, limited-edition flags and 500 smaller “Hues of Blues” flags in late September, while launching a fundraising appeal geared towards our fanbase, supporters’ clubs, existing Coleraine FC sponsors and advertisers, and, using the combined power of all our networks, to reach the broader business community and general public.
“We are seeking business and individual sponsorships or donations for each of the first 500 flags at a minimum suggested rate of £50 per flag. These “first 500” flags will be allocated, for the duration of the game, to the first 500 young people who take up the Club’s “Kid for a Quid” offer on the day of the match."
A further 500 flags will be made available to supporters at the Club shop, and other outlets (to be announced on social media), in the two weeks leading up to the #WereYouThere event, at a nominal cost of £10 per flag. Ex-pat Bannsiders are also encouraged be a part of this occasion and to purchase flags (or donate online) from the Club Shop via their website at Colerainefc.com, and to submit photographs of themselves with their flags on display in foreign parts or unusual settings.
Colin McKendry, Chairman of Coleraine Football Club said: “World Mental Health Day has become a regular and significant fixture in the Club’s calendar. Our “Hues of Blues” partnership with The Hummingbird Project is vitally important to us as a Club, and to our surrounding community across Causeway Coast & Glen, as we roll out unique mental fitness programmes, that are free-of-charge, to everyone.
“I believe the #WereYouThere event will be a truly historic day in the Club’s history, another first for the Bannsiders, as we pack the stadium with colour and noise, while marking such a poignant occasion.
“I would encourage everyone to come along to the Glenavon game on Saturday, October 7, buy or sponsor a flag in advance, and be a part of something that will last long into the memory.”
It is hoped that the sponsorship, donations, and sale of the limited edition “Hues of Blues” flags will raise a seed fund of £20k which will be used by the partnership as a catalyst to attract further funding when the campaign closes at the end of October.
In the last eight years, Hummingbird has already invested £1 million in local mental health projects across Northern Ireland, delivering innovation and high impact in collaboration with over 50 partners, including several government departments.
To date the “Hues of Blues” partnership with Coleraine Football Club has attracted £20K of social investment, £10K from The National Lottery Community Fund Awards for All programme, and a further £10K from Hummingbird.
Jimmy said: “Over the next three seasons, the partnership will deliver a planned series of projects, in collaboration with local businesses and other local CVSE partners, to invest a minimum of a further £150K into the mental fitness of the local community.
“The investment will also leverage additional statutory funding, and will create measurable, meaningful, sustainable, emotional wellbeing impacts across the Causeway Coast and Glens area. It will also help to create local jobs and volunteering opportunities.”
The fundraising, flag waving, extravaganza on October 7 follows and builds on the success of the “Hues of Blues” partnership’s ongoing FreeKick Progamme, supporting mental fitness and resilience.
Jimmy said: “The #WereYouThere experience will leave a tangible, enduring legacy within the fanbase, allow us to take our flags and their message “everywhere we go” in the Irish Premiership, and create vital social capital for the next phase of development of the “Hues of Blues” community partnership.
“The event will be captured by aerial and on-the-ground videographers, roving reporters, and photographers. It’s a case of “were you a part of Club history being made” - #WereYouThere?”. All proceeds from the appeal and sale of flags will be re-invested into local mental health projects driven by the “Hues of Blues” partnership. You can sponsor or donate towards the #WereYouThere campaign at this link : https://thehummingbirdproject.org.uk/donations/donation-form/