HUNDREDS of vital counselling sessions will be able to continue and be provided for thanks to the recent Lenadoon Community Counselling’s ‘Walk and Talk’ fundraising initiative.

Supported by West Belfast boxing titans Tommy McCarthy and Paddy Gallagher, £9,000 was raised to enable 450 sessions to be rolled out to those in distress. 

Last month people of all ages and of all abilities were encouraged to take part in the ‘Walk and Talk’  – a 5k or 10k challenge – where participants could walk, run or cycle with another person to talk, keep fit and all in the aid of a very worthwhile cause. 

Counsellor Kate Murray said the final total reached was “amazing” and will help continue their work with the local community.  

“We weren’t expecting the amount that was raised. I know youth leader Robert Sands has worked very, very hard, he has rapped doors, spoke to everybody he could speak to to raise money for the counselling project.

"Initially we were looking at a target of £3,000 and they really have outdone themselves. The funding will enable us to offer 450 counselling sessions which is amazing,” she said. 

Robert Sands, youth leader with the Glen Parent Youth Group, also expressed his gratitude to all those involved.

“I would particularly like to thank local boxer Tommy McCarthy, Donegal Celtic Football Club, Tullymore Swifts, St Oliver Plunkett Football Club and the Connors family who all made such valuable contributions.

"I would also like to thank the wider community, not only for donating, but for taking part in the positive mental health activities. Lenadoon Counselling Service do a wonderful job in assisting individuals with mental health, depression, suicidal and self-harm thoughts.

"This funding will enable them to provide that professional support to more members of our community,” he said. “If anyone still has sponsor money or would like to donate they can leave the money into the Glen Community Complex on the Suffolk Road."