Photographer and mental health campaigner Joe Dixon has set the wheels in motion for this year’s 24-hour Splashathon fundraiser and he is looking for participants to help him make a splash.
Set to take place in the Ashdown Park Hotel in Gorey on February 25, the Splashathon will see 240 participants cycle on one of ten stationary pool bikes for one hour each over a 24-hour period. The aim of the event is to raise funds for the Cycle Against Suicide HEADSTRONG programme – a peer-led programme which sees secondary school students lead actions and conversations around mental health in their own schools. While they are provided with a toolkit to guide them, the students decide what activities they will run, be it a coffee morning, a talk or otherwise.
"This is the fourth time we have run this event for Cycle Against Suicide in partnership with the Redmond Hotel Group. Each year, we have been full to capacity. Because of the lockdown over Covid, we have had many people- requesting that we bring it back,” explained Joe.
"We believe the event is unique to Gorey. It stemmed from a conversation I had in 2017 with the then manager of the Ashdown leisure centre, Anto Kelly. He and I were having a chat and a coffee and said we would like to do something different. The bikes had just been introduced to the pool area and we looked up the idea of using them for a fundraiser and saw that it hadn’t been done.”
Each year, the fundraiser pulls in about €5,000 for the HEADSTRONG programme.
"This is a structured, evidence-based programme that is proven to be effective. I have spoken to a number of teachers around the country about it and the report back is that it has been a huge success for both teachers and students,” said Joe.
The Splashathon will begin at 9 a.m. on February 25 and finish at 9 a.m. on February 26. Participation is open to everyone and there is no experience necessary. Those who wish to take part can book their one-hour slot by contacting Joe or the Ashdown Park Hotel.
"You can cycle at your own leisure. The event is going to be 100 per cent fun. We will have novelty games, spot prizes, celebrities and fancy dress,” said Joe.
While remaining tight-lipped about the local celebrities who will be participating, Joe said that they will range from a local politician to a national sportsperson.