Carl Frampton throws his support behind new murals at North Belfast boxing club

Former boxing world champion has given his support to a North Belfast boxing club's new mural project that aims to increase awareness about homelessness and mental health.

Midland Boxing Club has received £1,433 in funding from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive for the project which has seen the club install two new murals in its male and female changing rooms which list helpline numbers for local support services.

The project involved young people aged eight to 18 from Midland, which is Carl's former amateur club, with the former world champion saying that the murals will help those who may feel awkward or embarrassed about seeking support.

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The Housing Executive supported the project through its Community Cohesion programme, which encourages a sense of belonging for everyone in a community and brokers good relations between groups and communities.

Carl said: ‘We see these murals as a way of helping people who may feel awkward or embarrassed about asking for help or information about their mental struggles or the other problems, like housing, that they are dealing with.

“Now, you just have to look at these murals in our changing rooms, take a picture of the number on your phone and call it later for help or advice when you need to.

“This way people struggling to deal with their problems can be empowered to make that call and start getting the help and support they need work on improving their own health and wellbeing.”

He added: “Hopefully other sporting clubs who visit for sparring sessions will copy us, so they have similar support information and phone numbers in their changing rooms for their members.”

Sam Cochrane, Chairperson of Midland Boxing Club, said: “It is very important that the help is there and that people know they are not alone when they have problems to deal with.

“By helping young people to contact local support services we will be helping them to reintegrate back into the community in ways that make them feel better about themselves. Having these murals in the changing rooms will also help all other people who use our club.

“We are helping those who may not have the confidence to ask for help or know who they can turn to for support.

“I’d like to thank the Housing Executive and their staff for all their hard work in making the workshops possible so that we can engage better with the most vulnerable and show them how they can be part of their own recovery.”

Gerard Flynn, the Housing Executive’s Area Manager for North Belfast, said: “We are delighted to be able to support the club in this way.

“Helping our tenants feel safe, connected and involved is vital to building vibrant neighbourhoods. We want local young people to feel that they are an integral and valued part of the community.”

He added: “Midland Boxing Club does tremendous work with everyone in the community, building positive relationships and teaching about healthy lifestyles and positive mental health, so these murals will benefit both young and old who may need help.

“This approach can only improve the health and wellbeing of our young Housing Executive tenants and their children and makes local communities feel more supportive, safe and welcoming.”

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