GATESHEAD Football Club are proud to be supporting the IF U CARE SHARE Foundation aimed at preventing suicide and supporting those who have been affected by it.
In support of the Foundation, Gateshead defender Fraser Kerr is donating his £200 Man of the Match cheque – received following last Saturday’s win at Ebbsfleet live on BT Sport – to IF U CARE SHARE.
The Heed, along with several other non-league clubs across the North-East, supported the Foundation’s Inside Out campaign last Saturday with Heed players Connor Thomson, Tom Devitt, Jon Mellish and Tom White (left to right) turning their shirts inside out in order to help raise awareness.
The Foundation was set up by the family of Daniel O’Hare who, at 19, took his own life. Daniel’s brothers Matthew and Ben, along with his cousin Sarah (then aged 10, 5 and 13) hoped to do something positive to try and prevent another family suffering a similar experience. They wanted to create a lasting memory to Daniel and started If U Care Share.
“Our aim is to prevent anyone feeling the pain we felt as a family when we lost Daniel. We truly believe that talking can save lives,” said Daniel’s Mother, Shirley Smith
The charity has three main aims: prevention, intervention and support of those bereaved by suicide.
North East football journalist and IF U CARE SHARE ambassador Mark Carruthers visited the International Stadium to discuss the great work conducted by the foundation.
“It’s a very special family run charity and it’s getting involved with various schemes that raise awareness, that’s the main thing,” he told Gateshead-FC.com.
“One thing that struck me working with the charity is just how many people are affected by suicide, it’s not just the person who has taken their life, it’s not even just the immediate friends and family, it’s so many more people around that.
“It can have a big ripple effect so it’s just a wonderful charity to be part of and a real honour to become an ambassador for them.
“I’ve worked with the Inside Out campaign to get clubs like Gateshead involved which was a great success last weekend and is still ongoing.
“It’s a special charity that is doing some great things not just locally but nationally as well.”
Gateshead are not the only club supporting the charity either, fellow North East sides such as Sunderland, Hartlepool United, Blyth Spartans, South Shields and many more across the Northern League have been working with the foundation, most notably as part of last weekend’s Inside Out Campaign.
“The support from the clubs has been amazing but it hasn’t surprised me,” Mark continued.
“Actually, maybe it has a little bit! I’ve been involved in non-league football for a few years now and that sense of community and that eagerness to help is in almost every club whether that be in the Northern League or all the way up to the National League with Gateshead and Hartlepool.
“The support from Gateshead for the Inside Out campaign even though you had an evening game in London on BT Sport.
“It just shows what non-league is about. Supporting each other and doing what is right.
“My phone was going crazy last Saturday with different clubs on Twitter posting photos for the Inside Out Campaign which was a great success.
“Gateshead played a massive part in that and we can’t thank you enough.”
Kerr was involved in promoting the Inside Out Campaign last season and has continued to support IF U CARE SHARE once again with Gateshead FC.
And the charity were keen to express their gratitude toward both Kerr and the club.
Mark Carruthers saw Kerr awarded with the cheque live on BT Sport last Saturday and said: “It was a real surprise and a magnificent gesture.
“I will say it was fully deserved as well because Fraser was outstanding but at the same time any Gateshead player could have been given Man of the Match, it was one of those performances.
“For Fraser and the club to take a personal accolade and donate it to the foundation just shows what sort of person he is and what sort of club Gateshead are.
“They are a club who are active and willing to really get involved with the local community and local charities as well.
“Fans can also get involved by visiting the website www.ifucareshare.co.uk/ and they are always looking for people to fundraise and spread awareness.
“There is also a change.org petition going around dedicated to suicide prevention and raising awareness. This is up to around 370,000 signatures now which has skyrocketed recently and the next target is half a million which I think will be reached probably quicker than many would have expected.
“If anyone wants to fundraise, just get in touch with myself or someone from the foundation using the website. You can also follow them on Twitter @IFUCARESHARE and help this amazing charity continue to grow.
“We do need more help as a charity, we do need people to keep working hard and doing the great work that they are doing. Inside Out was great but it’s just one weekend.
“Non-league football clubs like Gateshead have been paramount in helping the charity because male suicide rates are alarmingly high – it’s the most likely way of a man below the age of 55 to be killed in this county.
“As men and as people, we do need to talk about things more and football is a great way of doing that.
“People can talk about football all day, as I’m sure my wife will tell you that I do! But when it comes to mental health and getting what is on the inside out, we don’t do that – we tend to block it up and that’s what Inside Out is about and what the charity wants to encourage.”
In addition to the £200 donated to the charity, Gateshead Football Club will be manufacturing IF U CARE SHARE pitchside boards at the International Stadium to raise further awareness on matchdays.