Sulky drive helps raise funds for mental health services

By Maurice Garvey

A SULKY and horse-cart drive was organised on Sunday in an effort to raise funds for mental health services in Cherry Orchard.

A large group of local horse enthusiasts took their trotters out for a Sunday stroll from Croftwood Gardens, to Boomers in Clondalkin, and then onto the Penny Hill in Lucan, before arriving back in Cherry Orchard for a lunchtime barbecue.

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Enjoying the sulky and horse cart drive

“The day couldn’t have been any better,” said local resident Karen Lawlor. On July 4, Karen started up a Facebook mental health page ‘An Ear to Bend’ in response to the worrying amount of suicides in the area.

“Cherry Orchard has the highest suicide rate in the country,” she said.

“The page has over 3,000 members, it is amazing to see it grow by the day. It is run by me, Rebecca Gough and local residents. People share their stories. Some are not comfortable opening up, so they send private messages and we post them. What with all the suicides in the area, people really want to pull together.”

As a result, residents now meet every Tuesday in the Orchard Community Centre between 6-7pm, to discuss mental health issues.

A similar group has also been set up recently by residents in Ballyfermot, who meet in the Civic Centre every Thursday night.

These are significant developments because a major concern previously was the lack of outreach services after office hours, in a community ravaged by tragedy.

Karen continued: “The event on Sunday was to try and raise money to get people in to give talks, get group sessions up and running. We have had good support from local businesses, and Larry Massey’s donated €500.

“We are trying to organise a trust fund (for the service). Our group is very active on social media, and the meetings provide an opportunity to get people out of the house.”

Although it had been a while since Karen was behind the reins, she took part in the charity horse drive on Sunday.

“My bones are in agony, it’s been a few years but it was a great day, and everyone enjoyed the barbecue,” she said.

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