High Sheriff ‘Black Dog’ mental awareness campaign in association with SANE

On April 26th D’Overbroecks have hosted a fund raising dinner in their new Cohen Hall. The event raised awareness to the issue of mental health in Oxfordshire’s schools and raised £10,000 for an initiative called the ‘Black Dog’ campaign.

The High Sheriff and SIRIUS

The ‘Black Dog’ is a metaphor for depression and this striking 4ft high resin statue acts as a talking points, raising awareness of mental health issues. It sits on a plinth which has information on helplines and web sites where children can find out more information and advice. The statue has a personalised collar and coat with the High Sheriff of Oxfordshire’s coat of arms and The Shrievalty coat of arms.   The ‘Black Dog’ now has now been given a name by the students at D’Overbroecks School…’Sirius’, which is the Dog Star, the brightest in the night sky. It is also the name of a character in the Harry Potter books called Sirius Black who spent 12 years in prison but then escaped by turning into a Black Dog ‘animagus’.  ‘Sirius’ represents the potential to shine brightly and overcome the stigma and raise awareness of mental health.

Students from D’Overbroecks and SIRIUS

‘Sirius’ was launched at D’Overbroecks in April and will now travel round as many secondary schools and further education colleges in the year where volunteers from SANE will come and provide workshops on mental health awarness . More than 10% of Oxfordshire school age children experience mental health problems. Many are treatable if diagnosed early enough. It is reported that 25% of Oxfordshire’s 16 year old girls self-harm. A figure that has doubled in the last 10 years.

SANE volunteers and SIRIUS

Richard Venables says ‘I have become acutely aware of the issue of mental health in our schools. It only seems to be increasing. Well being and exercise can make a significant impact as well as discussing this. ‘Sirius’ will act as a focal point, a conversation piece and an information tool. I want to get this into as many schools in Oxfordshire during my Shrieval year and will work with SANE and Oxfordshire MIND to assist with back up for this campaign.’

He adds ‘The dinner was hosted by D’Overbroecks and their amazing caterers from Holroyd Howe.  I was very grateful to Breckon and Breckon for sponsoring the wine from the Oxford Wine company together our other auction sponsors TOAD and Walters of Oxford.  We had 100 guests attend no doubt encouraged by the fact that it was the first opportunity for many to see Venables in his tights and full kit.’