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27/10/2021

Derry GAA player brushes up on painting skills for mental health cause

The Eoghan Rua player is undertaking a '100 days of Art' challenge.

Derry GAA player brushes up on painting skills for mental health cause

A Derry GAA player has swapped the ball for a paintbrush in an effort to create 100 original pieces of artwork over 100 days in support of a local mental health charity. 

Portstewart based Ruairí Mooney, who plays for Eoghan Rua Coleraine, has taken on the challenge to raise awareness for charity AWARE NI. 

Ruairí decided to combine his passion for painting with raising awareness and vital funds for mental health services in the North through his 100 Days of Art challenge.

With the sale of each piece of art, inspired by the picturesque scenery of his home town Portstewart, Ruairí is donating 10% of the proceeds to AWARE, the depression charity for Northern Ireland. 

"I decided to undertake the 100 Days of Art as a way of challenging myself to be disciplined and develop my creativity and focus," he said.

"Creating a different piece of work every day lets me share more of my art with people and develop my artistic style. I know AWARE's services are important but also particularly vital for those struggling throughout the pandemic.

"100 Days of Art can hopefully create some dialogue around the topic of mental health and help raise funds for this important charity."

Ruairí explains that his love of art has been an essential source of respite for his mental health and encourages others to find an outlet to improve their wellbeing.

"I feel very grateful to be able to use my passion for art to help a cause such as this," he added.

"I have always loved creating art; I feel it is so important for people to have something in their lives that they feel passionate about, whether it is art, music, sport or whatever.

"These hobbies can be so important for your mental wellbeing; a chance to switch off and give yourself a break from stresses in your life."

With the finish line set as New Year's Eve, this huge challenge is off to a very successful start. Ruairi's challenge has been met warmly via his social media, where is he is selling the pieces of art:

"I am delighted to say that many of the paintings have sold already. I have received great feedback from people, and their positivity will spur me on over the next couple of months."

Margaret McCrossan, Community and Events Fundraising Officer at AWARE NI, said: "We want to wish Ruairi all the best for the rest of his 100 Days of Art challenge!

"We have been impressed by his talents with the pieces he has created to date.

"We're also very grateful for Ruairí's support to help us raise awareness and funds to allow us to continue to support those affected by mental illness here in Northern Ireland." 

AWARE NI's free-to-attend support groups welcome people living with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder.

The groups provide a safe space to meet with others on a similar journey who can understand, encourage and suggest helpful ways of coping.

AWARE NI also delivers mental health awareness courses to schools, workplaces, community groups, and hospitals to equip people with the tools they need to best look after their minds.  

For information on AWARE NI's programmes and support, please visit www.aware-ni.org, and to keep up to date with Ruairí Mooney’s 100 Days of Art challenge, check out his Instagram @artbymooney.

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