Mayo tour guide, Barry Hopkins, is preparing to put wheels in motion tomorrow, Saturday, December 5, on a challenge to help keep Childline listening to children and young people across Ireland this winter and beyond.
Barry is gearing up to use the day to cycle all 85 kilometres of Mayo’s own Great Western Greenway in aid of the Childline Listening Service, as delivered by the ISPCC.
Childline is there for every child and young person every day and night, but relies on public support for over 90 per of the funding that keeps the service listening. The team at Childline, which has a listening centre in Castlebar, is hugely appreciative of Barry’s endeavours to help raise vital funds.
Barry, who also works as an actor, said: "I think it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, aimless and stressed during this time of Covid. I personally have found the last few months challenging, as the pandemic took away a lot of the tour guide business. Preparation for better times and a positive attitude is key and this is the approach I’m taking to this cycle for Childline.
"Many children’s and young people’s lives have been turned upside down this year. They have been talking with Childline every day and night about the kinds of issues they are facing – including anxiety, mental health difficulties, strain in family relationships, abuse and violence in their homes and more.
"To me, children are the most vulnerable. I think we need to support them in any way we can and this is what I hope to do in taking on this challenge.
"I plan on cycling the Great Western Greenway from Westport all along the coast towards Achill Island, following the route of the old railway line. I’ve never taken on any challenge as long as this before, but I do think it’s important for mental health at this time that we stay active and focus our energy on smashing a positive goal. Where better to do this than in the beautiful and historic Mayo landscape. I am hoping that the weather will be nice on the day – but it is the west coast, so that may be a long shot! Whatever happens, I am excited at the prospect of making a difference for children’s wellbeing by helping out ISPCC Childline and would greatly appreciate any support along the way."
Childline is there for every child and young person in Ireland. Any child or young person can contact the service at any time by calling (1800 ) 666666, texting to 50101 or chatting online at Childline.ie