Over 1000 pupils at Friends’ School Lisburn, recently danced in the dark to help raise funds for CAUSE a unique peer led local charity that supports families, friends and partners who care for someone with a complex and severe mental illness.

Friends’ had taken up a challenge from CAUSE to pilot its new schools’ initiative ‘CAUSE To Dance and really put their own stamp on the event.

Stephen Robinson Head of PE at Friends says, 'Our pupils have had an amazing time getting behind CAUSE's new schools initiative.  They have learnt more about mental health and the effect caring for someone with a serious mental illness can have on families.  They put everything into the planning and delivery of this event and it is so evident how much everyone enjoyed it - staff included!  It is good to know there are organisations  like CAUSE there to help if you need them!  We have had a truly memorable time!'

Not only did Friends' take on the challenge - they made it their own 'Glow with the Flow'

Paulo Ross (Cool FM) experienced first - hand what an amazing effort the school, its staff, its charity committee, pupils and their families, put into staging an amazing event,

‘I am absolutely blown away with what Friends have done in support of CAUSE.  I know only too well through my own experience, the fantastic practical and emotional support this organisation offers families who themselves are in crises - trying to cope and care for a loved one who has severe mental health problems.

Friends’ pushed the boat out in March when they had their own mini festival night, dressing up for the occasion, performing an incredible Cha Cha routine and then running 5k around the school.  The pictures and video speak for themselves.

I hope many schools sign up for this fabulous initiative for next term and beyond in the confidence that they will have a ball, raising much needed funds to support many families who knock on the door of CAUSE and receive the support they so need!’

                                                                                                            Paulo Ross pictured here with Friends' School Charity Committee

Is CAUSE To Dance coming to a school near you?

Anne Holland CAUSE Fundraising Manager commented, ‘CAUSE is so very grateful to everyone at Friends’ who got behind this project showing what fun schools and their pupils can have whilst supporting  CAUSE and above all else helping us to reduce the associated stigma not just for the person who is unwell but for the people supporting that person.

Glow with the Flow at Friends’ gave a strong message of hope for those impacted by a loved one’s serious mental illness.  Not only was it a fantastic colourful fun  evening but the school  has also produced a video which the charity will use to distribute to primary and secondary schools to highlight what the initiative is about and how each can make a CAUSE To Dance event their own.

We shall be sending the video by link to all schools from Mental Health Awareness Week onwards in the hope that they will register with ‘CAUSE To Dance’ next academic year or in 2020 - our 25th anniversary year!

For many years now we have successfully hosted Strictly events including Strictly Jigs and Reels and not only are participants raising much needed funds for the charity but they too are experiencing the benefits of dancing – whether it is on a ballroom dance-floor or in your own lounge – everyone feels great after a ‘bop’.  We know physical exercise helps our mental well-being and we know the impact of technology has had on our youth – so we are asking all schools to keep aside a little time to dance and above all else help us to step on the stigma of mental illness that also affects those in a caring role.’

If your school would like more information about ‘CAUSE To Dance’and/or the work of CAUSE, please call the team on 028 90 650 650 or email: [email protected]