The community-based group Billy’s Gift is a step closer to rolling out suicide first aid courses throughout the Eurobodalla.
Betty Connelly and Julie Irwin, of Connelly Irwin Counselling, set up the Moruya-based service after the loss of Mrs Irwin’s teenage son, Billy, to suicide.
They have been seeking funding to roll out the training from Batemans Bay to Wallaga Lake.
On June 1, three registered clubs stepped up with the $15,000 needed to take the first step.
Batemans Bay Soldiers Club, Club Narooma and Tomakin Sports and Social Club gathered in Moruya with stakeholders after each club gave $5000.
“This will fund Betty and I to undertake Train the Trainer course in suicide first aid training,” Mrs Irwin said.
“We will then roll that out to any group in the community, sporting groups, service providers, who is interested.
“Just as CPR first aid training has reduced the statistics in deaths from heart attacks, we hope this first aid training will reduce the suicide deaths in our community.
“It is a two-hour workshop which helps identify when someone is vulnerable and may be at risk of self harm.
“This teaches you how to have that conversation with them.
“Once they have had the conversation, it about linking them to the appropriate support.
“The funding will also be used for resources for our Messengers of Hope peer support volunteers.”
Messengers provide one-on-one support and referral for vulnerable people and families.
Several volunteers have stepped up for this program, but Billy’s Gift would like another four.
“It is a two-hour workshop to help identify when someone is vulnerable and may be at risk of self harm; this teaches you how to have that conversation with,” Mrs Irwin said.
“Once they have had the conversation it about linking them to the appropriate support.
Tony Casu, Paul Biddleston, Jim Irwin, Shane Cairney, Michelle Preston, Donna Falconer, Diane Dason and David Greenhill gathered yesterday to celebrate the donation.
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