CADD student aiming to deliver knockout blow to mental health stigma

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A New College Lanarkshire student is to return to the ring to raise money for suicide awareness charity Chris’s House.

Former world champion kickboxer Jordan McCafferty will fight for the first time in three years at fundraising event ‘Knockout the Stigma’.

The showcase is being organised by brothers Sam and Scott Allan, who manage the Rivals Gym in Wishaw.

Jordan was inspired by take part in the fundraiser, which takes place on September 8, after a close friend recently took his own life.

And the 18-year-old is encouraging his fellow students to get in his corner by attending fundraising events at our Motherwell, Coatbridge and Cumbernauld campuses in the week leading up to his fight.

Jordan, who studies HND Computer Aided Draughting and Design (CADD) at the Motherwell Campus, said: “I’m doing this to raise awareness of mental health.

“You get people who think they can’t talk about things, because there is a stigma, but people need to realise that you can talk and that it’s all right.”

Jordan followed his dad, Peter, into Taekwondo training when he was just three years-old. He gained a clutch of Scottish, British and world champion titles in both kickboxing and Taekwondo between 2011 and 2015, but was forced to stop due to ill health.

He added: “I feel motivated to do it again and now I’m back enjoying it.

“Some people think of boxing as an angry sport, but it relaxes you and chills you out and you forget about everything that’s going on in your life.

“I think it will be a bit emotional, but once I’m in the ring I’ll be focused on one thing only. It’ll be tough, but it’s for a good reason.”

New College Lanarkshire Students’ Association is hosting ‘Jordan’s Fundraiser’ events at the Motherwell Campus on September 4, Coatbridge Campus on September 5, and Cumbernauld Campus on September 6.

The events will raise awareness of Chris’s House, which was founded by Wishaw mum Anne Rowan following the death of her son, Chris, in 2011. She has established a 24-hour crisis centre and growing network of volunteers to support anyone with suicidal thoughts and their friends and families.

Rivals Gym co-founder Scott Allan said: “It’s a charity that’s close to home for us, partly because it’s just down the road, and also because we’ve taken friends there for help.

“Our ‘Knockout the Stigma’ event has had great support already with more than 250 tickets sold, and we’ve set a target of raising £5,000.

“We hope to make it an annual event so that every year people know we’ll have a Chris’s House fundraiser in September.”

The fundraiser will feature a mix of boxing and kickboxing over 12 fights, with Jordan lined up to go toe-to-toe with Ireland’s Marc Keane.

Sam Allan, who completed HND Coaching and Developing Sport at our Broadwood Campus in 2014, said that boxing itself is a way to engage with others.

He said: “It’s a form of community – some gyms can make you feel isolated or intimidated, whereas in boxing you’re always working as part of a team.

“We instil discipline and respect in our training and it’s a way to meet so many good people, many of whom will become friends for life.”

Cheree Fleming, President of New College Lanarkshire Students’ Association, said: “Over this coming year, we really want to focus on raising more awareness of mental health and encourage students to access the support services that are available.

“We think what Jordan is doing is absolutely amazing and we want to support him as much as possible along the way.”

Anne Rowan of Chris’s House said: “This means so much to us in Chris's House and to have the support of the College as well as the students, especially Jordan, is an absolutely positive step towards truly knocking out the stigma of mental illness.

“This will make great strides for inclusion with our younger members of the communities.”

‘Knockout the Stigma’ is at Rivals Gym, 53–55 Roberts Street, Wishaw on Saturday, September 8. Tickets priced £40, including three-course meal, available from 07746 715904.

Read more about the College's support services here:

Mental Health Support

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