Cycling enthusiasts are invited to put their endurance skills to the test by competing in the annual Granite Challenge event to help raise funds for Action Mental Health (AMH).
Taking place on Sunday 2 October at 10am, the long distance cycle will commence shortly in advance of World Mental Health Day with proceeds going towards the charity’s Men’s Shed project.
The money raised will enable AMH to provide men aged 60 and over with a friendly and inclusive environment where they can enjoy each other’s company while working on a variety of activities such as joinery, photography and gardening in a bid to form new friendships and learn new skills.
Supported by cycling club La Lanterne Rouge, cyclists will be put through their paces by embarking on a 55 mile route that starts at AMH’s New Horizons Service in Downpatrick, through the scenic surroundings of the Mournes and Spelga Dam before returning back home via Bryansford, Maghera and Clough.
Chief Executive of Action Mental Health, David Babington said: “Any form of physical activity plays a huge role in not only keeping our bodies fit, but our minds healthy as well. With as many as one in four people in Northern Ireland experiencing mental ill-health at some stage in their life, it is important to remember that simple things such as cycling to work or walking the dog can really help to reduce stress and clear the mind.
“With this year’s World Mental Health Day theme being Dignity in Mental Health, we couldn’t think of a more fitting tribute other than hosting a large scale sporting event that unites the community in a show of support for those impacted by mental illness.
“We’re always really excited to host our annual Granite Challenge, which over the years has proved hugely popular with local cycling clubs and individuals alike. Each year the number of cyclists almost doubles, so we are very much looking forward to participating and sharing in what is sure to be another highly motivating experience for all involved.”
Food and refreshments will be provided for on the day, with the added benefit of a soothing sports massage at the finish line for competitors, kindly provided by North Down Physio and Sports Injury Clinic.
AMH ambassador, Therapie Miss NI, Emma Carswell said: “I am delighted to be an ambassador for AMH and support the famous Granite Challenge!
“Mental ill-health is a growing issue here in Northern Ireland, but those who are living with it often feel unable to speak out and seek the support they need due to the stigma that still exists.
“It’s important for people to know that in difficult times they are not alone, so what better way to show family, friends and colleagues that you want to change the conversation and be vocal about mental health, than taking part in The Granite Challenge on behalf of a great cause such as The Men’s Shed Project.”
Entrance fee is £20 which includes a delicious tea stop at Spelga Dam where all your favourite tray bakes and sweet treats await, followed by a freshly prepared lunch at the finish line.
Spaces are limited so register your interest now at:
If you wish to volunteer for this event please contact Callum Clark on:
for details on how to get involved.
To find out more information on Action Mental Health and the services it offers, please visit:
Mental illness in Northern Ireland
* One in four adults in Northern Ireland will show signs of a mental illness
* When matched to 17 other countries, Northern Ireland had the 2nd highest rates of mental ill-health
* Prevalence of mental illness in Northern Ireland is 25% higher than in England.