A MENTAL health group got stuck into fundraising recently when they held a variety of events for Mental Health Awareness Week.

Project 14 was set up by Barnsley woman Beth Deakin and her friends after Ashley Salkeld - known as Selly - took his own life at the age of 25 in 2016.

The group was set up last year and has since aimed to raise awareness and funds for mental health charities and services that help people across Barnsley - raising £5,000 over the past year.

However, the group raised nearly £1,000 during Mental Health Awareness Week - which ran from May 13 to the 19 - through a variety of events including a ‘zumbathon’.

Beth said: “We kicked off the week by hosting a walk and talk around Bolton-on-Dearne. Fifteen people turned up and we walked for five miles - it was great to see new people using Mental Health Awareness Week to join in.

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“A new partnership started with local company Yorkshire Aromatics, who are supporting and promoting mental health awareness through their company and donating the profits of their Bakewell tart melt to Project 14.

“It is another amazing example of how our community is noticing the importance of supporting mental health and wellbeing.

“We were invited to Darfield Cricket Club’s match as their match sponsor. We were there to chat to anyone that wanted to and spread awareness about the #AlrightPal campaign that we support.”

A four-hour-long zumbathon was also held on the last day of the week at Highgate Working Men’s Club in Goldthorpe, which saw many people turn up who had raised money for the charity.

“It was great,” said Beth, 27. “We were approached by Bev Jones who is a local zumba instructor. The focus of this year’s mental health awareness was body image and Bev’s classes really encompass body positivity and promote confidence so it felt like the right decision to host this event.

“The turnout was outstanding. Participants were sponsored to take part and the atmosphere was electric. I’m still collecting sponsor money but it’s looking like from the event we’ve raised about £900. I’m blown away.”

Beth said the charity’s next next step will be to use the money they have raised to buy ‘crisis cards’ to distribute across Barnsley.

The group is also continuing to hold their walks for people across Barnsley and the Dearne Valley. The walks are open to people of all ages and are held to encourage people to talk and open up about their mental health.

As well as the walks, the group has partnered with the council for the #AlrightPal campaign, which aims to get people across the borough talking to each other and making sure to ask people how they are.

“It’s been great working alongside the council for this campaign,” Beth said. “When we first lost Ashley I never thought in a million years that something so positive could come out of something so horrible.

“People have been so supportive and I think that is something that has kept us going. In Barnsley when you do something like this everyone gathers round to give support.”

For more information, search Project 14 on Facebook. To donate to Project 14, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/project14.