Seven local charities are set to split the thousands raised by the sold-out Healthier Illawarra Men (HIM) 2023 International Men’s Day Lunch to help support Illawarra initiatives that raise awareness about health issues and domestic violence prevention.
Hundreds attended the annual event, which helps local men to connect and brings awareness of their health through networking and speeches from inspirational locals like shark attack survivor and life advocate Brett Connellan.
But it’s not just the event itself that is helping local people, with all the funds raised by HIM directed back into the region.
“We recently ran a grants application round and the seven successful applicants were all deemed worthy recipients,” HIM chair Mark Sleigh said.
“Each of the seven organisations does work which fits in with the charter of HIM, which is to support local programs supporting the betterment of men’s health or supporting the victims of domestic violence.”
With this year’s International Men’s Day theme being ”Zero Male Suicides”, many of the charities selected are dedicated to improving mental health and wellbeing within the Illawarra community.
These include organisations such as the Top Blokes Foundation, which works with young males with mentorship programs to increase their resilience, empathy and respect, and providers such as the Raising the Bar Foundation (formerly Barstool Brothers), so they can continue to support the local community to provide safe spaces for men to start conversations about mental health and break down the stigma around seeking help.
Lifeline South Coast, which helps people in crisis mental health situations and offers a range of training courses on suicide prevention and intervention, will receive a share of the funds to ensure Illawarra people have somewhere to turn at their darkest times.
With awareness around domestic violence also a focus of HIM, funding will also go to the charity Escabags, which has already distributed thousands of escape bags to victims fleeing domestic and family abuse since it launched in 2020.
Sexual violence survivor organisation What Were You Wearing? is also being supported for its continued advocacy, education and support to those in need.
Another group being supported for its dedication to improving residents’ wellbeing is Shellharbour not-for-profit The Gawura Aboriginal Corporation, which helps address Aboriginal people’s social, cultural and economic concerns.
These organisations all support HIM’s main goals to raise awareness of men’s health issues, including mental health, and to encourage men to be more proactive regarding their own health, as well as raise awareness of appropriate behaviours to prevent domestic, family and sexual violence.
“Our mission at HIM is to empower men to make positive choices for their physical and mental health, and to provide them with the resources and support necessary to lead healthier lives,” Mr Sleigh said.
“In turn, we aim to make our community stronger.”
The group’s next function will be the Healthier Illawarra Men Classic Race Day at Kembla Grange on 15 March next year.