Newmachar comedy aids charity MHA

A sold-out comedy gig in aid of a leading North-east charity is promising to be a barrel of laughs.

And while the beneficiary of the event is no laughing matter, comedic legends Patrice and McRuvie will ensure the night is.

Organiser Mark Chalmers and his wife Arlene were inspired to raise funds for Mental Health Aberdeen’s (MHA) ACIS Youth programme after interacting with the service and also becoming aware of the prevalence of mental health issues in their role as community first responders. The couple are also planning to fundraise for the Newmachar First Responders at the gig.

Mark said: “We hope that this fundraiser will help enhance the services that MHA and ACIS provide and by the success we have had in ticket sales we hope to do some further events in the future. Our expectations for the evening, which will be something a little bit different, are to raise some money and to try our best to raise awareness of the work they do.

“Mental wellbeing is a difficult subject to openly discuss but having worked as a responder for over five years I am aware of how prevalent mental health issues are in all communities. We ourselves know of a considerable amount of people who have needed ACIS at various times in their lives and in a lot of cases people aren’t aware of the help that is available.”

Demand for ACIS Youth, MHA’s youth counselling service, has grown year on year and the couple hope that money raised at the Comedy Night at the Newmachar Hotel on Friday, February 13, will help the charity’s provision of counselling to young people throughout the region.

MHA provides its free services to those from a primary school age to 18 years. Counselling can be accessed by young people directly through MHA’s offices or by requests brought forward by parents, social workers, teachers, GPs, youth services and other agencies – providing the young person has given their consent.

Astrid Whyte, MHA chief executive, said: “We stepped up our provision of the ACIS Youth service a year ago and there has been huge demand for our assistance, which is one of our biggest challenges.

“Our aim is to integrate the program even further with primary and secondary schools in Aberdeen as we try to meet this need. In order to do this we need funds, which is why we are so grateful for kind gestures like this from people in the community.

“It is fantastic that the comedy gig is sold out already, and we would like to thank Mark and Charlene for supporting MHA with the proceeds as efforts like us make all the difference to us.

“There is a waiting list for ACIS at the moment unfortunately, which we are working hard to reduce. Often the hardest thing for a youngster is that first step of asking for help, so to be able to offer support as quickly as possible is crucial.”