From Mr Hillier: On the 2nd July, I am taking part in a sponsored 20 mile walk to raise funds for the Hillsborough Survivors Support Alliance. This brilliant not-for-profit organisation provides therapy for people affected by the tragic events of the 15th April 1989, when 97 football supporters, many children, lost their lives.
Many people present on that day now suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or other mental health challenges and the HSA are the only group that offers specific therapy and support. Understandably, their original focus was on Liverpool supporters, but their remit has now extended to include affected witnesses and survivors connected to Nottingham Forest, of which I am one. Each individual therapy programme costs £300+ and myself and my team are hoping to raise a thousand pounds.
The walk is around the sporting venues of Merseyside, starting and finishing at Liverpool’s Anfield stadium. 20 miles sounds like a long way. I think I’d mistaken it for a bike ride when I agreed to do it! I’m part of one of two teams of Forest supporters who have committed to doing this by way of support and thanks to the HSA for reaching out to people in our city, for whom no help has been available for 33 years.
The full details are on the Just Giving page we have set up and any donations would be received with heart-felt thanks. The HSA do great work, including manning phone lines for people in crisis and operating support groups via social media. As you can imagine, they were very much overrun around the recent time when Forest were playing Liverpool as that stirred up trauma in many people and the other critical time is around the anniversary in April. From a school perspective, their work ties in very well with our message that it is good to talk and that mental health issues should be taken seriously and are not a cause for stigma.