Fasting Oldham walkers raising cash for mental health charities this Ramadan

A group of Oldhamers fasting this Ramadan are walking more than 100 miles to raise cash for mental health charities.

With a quarter of adults having thoughts about self-harm during lockdown, the Local Ramadan Appeal 2022 is raising money by pounding the streets of Oldham in a bid to raise vital funds for charities such as Andy’s Man’s Club, which encourages men to open up about their feelings.

Despite an anticipated gap of 13 hours between sunrise and sunset meals this Ramadan, organize Amin Babor Chowdhury and his team will be traversing 100 miles during the holy month.

He said: “At Ramadan, Muslims are obliged to give Zakat and Sadaqah to those in need as in the past, we have chosen to support good work in Bangladesh but also in our communities here and have adopted the Mayor of Oldham’s five charities.

“These include Andy’s, which is offering lifesaving support at this time of mental health crisis.”

In a promotional film for the campaign, Amin features members of the community who are promising to walk, run, fundraise, or support the effort.

Mayor Jenny Harrison concludes the piece, saying: “We should all support the good causes. Ramadan Mubarak.”

Other charities benefitting include Age UK Oldham (Out and About Club), Inspiring Futures Partnership CIC (Inspire Women Oldham), Maggie’s Oldham, Oldham Street Angels, POINT, Terence O’Grady Social Club, and UKEFF (UK Education & Faith Foundation).

Tameside Rotary and the Just Help Foundation, which recently helped establish an eye hospital in Bangladesh, are also set to benefit.

Oldham GP and founder of the Endometriosis Awareness North charity Dr Anita Sharma, is behind the drive.

Dr Sharma said: “At the commencement of COVID, 80% of my patients had physical illnesses and 20 per cent mental health issues.

“By the close of lockdown, that ratio had been entirely turned on its head and clearly the country was tackling an unprecedented mental health epidemic of depression, anxiety, and stress.

“The fundraisers are entirely correct to support someone like Andy’s Place and by exercising, they are also improving their own mental health since exertion means the endorphins in our brains stimulate happy feelings. Well done, all!”

Amin concluded: “It is not just the money we are raising that is important, here. We are increasing awareness of problems such as isolation in old age, cancer, job insecurity for young people and of course, men’s mental health.

“We are also showing as Muslims our commitment to helping those most in need and making sure we play a positive role in the life of our communities.”

Support the Ramadan Local Appeal 2022 on JustGiving.

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