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Gratitude Games launched to support mental health of Emergency Responders

A brand new multi-sport event that aims to support the mental health of Emergency Responders and NHS workers has been launched.

The Gratitude Games has a target of generating £10 million in funds which will go towards important mental health services for front-line workers and their families.

The inaugural Games will be hosted in Manchester and Salford from April 27-May 29 2022 across a number of leading sports venues with swimming featuring as one of the sporting activities.

The event will see more than 20,000 individuals, including those from the NHS, Fire and Rescue Services, RNLI and Cave Rescue, taking part in 20 sporting events.

All sporting abilities are welcome and the triathlon and road running events will be open to the public.

Mental health has worsened

Statistics show that 69 per cent of emergency service workers have said that their mental health has worsened since the beginning of the pandemic.

The event organisers are calling on the British public and businesses to donate to their fundraising plea, and have outline where the funds will be distributed.

Four specialist organisations that provide mental health services to emergency responders – Police Care UK, The Fire Fighters Charity, The Ambulance Staff Charity and Duty to Care (NHS) – will be the recipients of the money raised.

‘Urgent Need’

Serving firefighter Mike Downard and sports industry veteran Simon Rider are the co-founders of the event and say there is an ‘urgent need’ for specialist mental health services to be readily available.

Downard said: “In my 18 years as a firefighter, I have seen first-hand the devastating impact that working on the front line can have on your mental health.

“You can be dealing with multiple traumatic events on a daily basis and that can really take its toll.

“The pandemic has affected the mental health of many, but especially those of us in the emergency services – so there is an urgent need to make sure the specialist support is readily available.

“To help make this a reality, we are calling upon the British public and businesses to get behind the Gratitude Games – by donating to the fundraising appeal and sharing the message of the Games to friends and family.”

To donate to the fundraising appeal, click here. To find out more and register your interest, click here.