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University staff raise more than £7000 for Highland mental health charity in a year of fundraising activities

By Val Sweeney

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Donna Smith, of Mikeysline (centre) with UHI staff.
Donna Smith, of Mikeysline (centre) with UHI staff.

A year-long fundraising drive by staff at the University of the Highlands and Islands has raised £7430 for a mental health charity.

The university's social committee chose Inverness-based Mikeysline as its 2019 charity of the year.

The committee organised a raffle, coffee mornings, a sweepstake, a bowling night and a mince pie and Christmas jumper day while individual staff members also undertook personal challenges.

They included Tony Johnson, an Inverness IT technician, who raised over £2170 by having his head shaved by personnel administrator, Donna Clark.

“I’m absolutely blown away by the level of support and generosity of everyone who contributed and got involved for such a great cause," he said.

"I never thought for one second that I’d manage to raise anywhere near my target never mind doubling it. From the bottom of my heart, thank you very much.”

Val Cooper, a graduate school training officer from Glenurquhart raised £400 by completing the 5 x 50 challenge, walking and cycling 5km a day for 50 days.

Fiona Leiper, a research ethics officer from Cawdor, and Sophie Chisholm, a development officer of Culloden, added over £500 to the total by taking part in running challenges, while Julie Cribb, an Inverness development programme manager, contributed £50 by braving an ice water swim.

Family members also joined in with fundraising efforts. Janis Mackay, a graduate school registry officer from Dingwall, and her daughters Catherine, Beth and Megan organised a festive coffee morning raising over £200.

“We have arranged a Christmas coffee morning each year for a chosen charity which is close to my family’s heart," Ms Mackay said.

"I told my daughters about Mikeysline and we all thought it would be lovely to raise a bit of money for them. At such a busy and costly time of year, we were very touched that so many friends and family came – and baked – and we were delighted to raise so much for the charity.”

The money will be used to support the work of Mikeysline which provides a textline service for those experiencing thoughts of depression, anxiety, worry or stress as well as the Hive crisis centre in Inverness.

Mikeysline chairwoman Donna Smith, praised the "fantastic" fundraising efforts.

"This sort of money makes a huge difference to us, to give it some context, this will cover the running costs of the Hive for a few months which is tremendous and will make a difference for many people who will use the service in that time," she said.

"On behalf of all the staff and volunteers at Mikeysline, I’d like to sincerely thank everyone who either took part in an event or supported them by donating.”

University staff have chosen Alzheimer Scotland as their charity of the year for 2020.

The organisation provides support and information to people with dementia, their carers and their families, campaigns for the rights of people with dementia and funds dementia research.

More stories on Mikeysline:Our approach has set us apart says Mikeysline founder

More volunteers are key for Mikeysline

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