Celebrities raise over €2,000 in basketball arena for Jigsaw Tallaght

By Aura McMenamin

The National Basketball Arena hosted a star-studded event on Sunday in Tallaght, which raised over €2,000 in aid of youth mental health services.

Bands such as The Coronas, The Riptide Movement and stars such as Nicky Byrne and Brian Ormond also competed against each other for the indoor football event, or futsol, which raised money for Jigsaw, a national organisation.

Jigsaw Tallaght fundraiser 02092017

Sports stars Stephanie Roche, Killian Brennan and Tallaght footballer Jay Byrne were also in attendance.

Speaking to The Echo this week, organiser Vinny Whelan said early estimates for the money raised for Jigsaw was €2,200 on the day, with a donation by Renault Ireland of €1,400 who paid for the venue, and €320 which was donated to cover insurance costs.

The Tallaght man was inspired to raise money for Jigsaw, which provides free and confidential support service for young people aged 12 – 25.

Mr Whelan nearly single-handedly organised the event. He was inspired to raise money for Jigsaw after learning that Ireland has the fourth highest rate of youth suicide in Europe.

He said: “I thought it was shocking that Ireland was so high on the list, compared to other countries that have much larger populations.”

Whelan said he began organising the event in February, taking on a huge task to fill the venue and find bigger-name attendees that would represent the cause well.

Although Whelan was able to use his friendship with Coronas’ singer Danny O’Reilly to rope in other musicians, but relied mainly on Twitter to reach out to celebrities to invite them to attend.

Whelan said there was a fantastic atmosphere on Sunday, with futsol matches throughout the day, and kids’ activities such as face painting and bouncy castles.

He said: “My two aims were to raise awareness of the services that Jigsaw provides and raise money. My goal was to get people familiar with the organisation.

He thanked the community for supporting the event with their attendance and donations, saying: “They not only supported the event and Jigsaw, but they supported me too.”

Jigsaw Tallaght also provide talks and training for young people, parents and those who work with young people around supporting youth mental health. For more information go to www.jigsaw.ie 

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