Thursday, October 3, 2013
David Manners takes it on the chin to raise money for the new Axminster mental health group - The Project
Artist David Manners has been parted from his bushy beard for the first time in 34 years - to help Axe Valley youngsters fight depression.
The former Woodroffe School maths teacher had his whiskers shaved off to raise £350 for The Project – the new support group for young people with mental health issues.
The Nag’s Head in Lyme Regis hosted the sponsored event and the money raised will be used to buy art materials for the organisation, which runs support sessions from the Young People’s Centre in Axminster.
Hosted by East Devon Volunteer Support Agency ( EDVSA), an independent charity which supports the establishment of local community groups, and working in partnership with Devon Youth Service, The Project opened to young people last month and is already receiving a steady stream of referrals.
Mr Manners, who retired from teaching last year, and now concentrates on his art work, said: “The Project provides an invaluable service for local young people who are experiencing issues with their mental health, and I am delighted to be able to help support this new group.”
Debbie Humberstone, founder and co-ordinator at The Project, whose daughter developed severe mental health issues at the age of 15, spoke about the group’s aims before the big shave.
Like Mr Manners, who had first-hand experience of mental illness, she said she believed that speaking out about the condition is the way to change people’s attitudes, and break down the stigma which surrounds it.
She said: “My experiences of caring for my daughter, and the journey I have taken with her, has opened my eyes to the challenges faced by all young people, and just how common mental health issues are among this age group.
“One in 10 young people are experiencing a serious mental health problem – that’s three children in every classroom. It is easy to say that this won’t ever happen to me - I used to think that. But I now know that mental illness does not discriminate – it can happen to anyone at any time. It is not just someone else’s problem, it is society’s problem.”
If anyone is interested in donating £5 to The Project, and Mr Manner’s beard shave, they can do so by texting the message ‘DAVE34 £5’ to 70070. To make a larger donation, or for any other information about The Project, contact Debbie on 07970 167341 or by email to email@example.com