Oran Armstrong (centre front) with a group at Claudy's Cumber House after one of his runs
A Claudy footballer has been clocking up the miles over January in aid of charity.
Turning into the new year has always been the time for making a new start and the football season would be swinging into action.But in the absence of sport, Oran Armstrong has been far from idle.
He took his inspiration from the mental strain placed on society with the lockdown following the Covid-19 pandemic.
With the Claudy GAA and Dungiven Celtic seasons both on hold, he has also taken to the roads around Claudy, Strabane, Derry and ventured to Benone Strand.
Oran, who works as a Customer Protection Analyst for Danske Bank, decided to set himself a running target to link in with 'Dry January'.
“Talking with my friends and teammates, there was a general feeling of frustration and the impact that another full lockdown would have on mental health,” Oran said.
With no group training and the closure of gyms, the lack of routine was 'not good for the head' and it was time to find a new focus.
“Losing routine is not good for mental health both the physical impact and the social impact.” said Oran, who has led an active lifestyle since a young age.
“Its only when you lose the simple things like training, playing football, going to the gym or meeting your friends for a few pints that you realise how much joy and happiness it brings to our lives,” he continued.
“I know I am not the only one who feels like this, and a lot of people are feeling the same frustration. Missing that everyday social aspect of life, that we have taken for granted before this pandemic, has left a lot of young people feeling very isolated and alone and Derry has experienced more than its fair share of tragedy as a result of mental health.”
That struck a chord with Oran, who has decided to raise funds and help to unite society in these uncertain times.
“The charity I am doing this for is Aware NI,” he states. “They are the Derry-born depression charity for Northern Ireland - and the only charity working exclusively for people with depression and bipolar disorder.”
Aware delivers mental health and well-being programmes into communities, schools, colleges, universities and workplaces.
These programmes include Mood Matters programmes, Living Life to the Full, Mental Health First Aid and Mindfulness. Aware’s programmes take a preventative approach to mental ill-health and teach attendees techniques to look after their own mental health and well-being.
Oran has raised over £2,800 so far and is hoping to reach the 3k mark by the end of the month.
If you want to help Oran support Aware NI, click here www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/oranarmstrong10
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