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Cerebral’s Fundraising Story…

Hearing the personal motivations behind our fundraisers’ decision to support our local charity can be incredibly touching. Dan and Charley from Cerebral Clothing started an independent fashion brand in 2020 after a close friend died by suicide. Their enterprise was built in his lasting memory, with the aim of inspiring young people to talk more openly about their mental health, whilst raising essential funds for Manchester Mind.

During Local Mind’s Week 2023 we caught up with Cerebral to discuss their fundraising experience…

Tell us about Cerebral Clothing’s origins and development: We founded our brand in 2020 after one of our best friends sadly took his own life at the age of 19 years old. It’s hard to put into words just how much the impact of losing him had – and continues to have – on the lives of all his friends and family members.   It sounds like a cliché, but from the outside looking in, he would have been the last person you would imagine might be struggling with his mental health. He was always smiling, joking around and always making everyone else’s day that bit brighter. This opened our eyes to the invisible pandemic that is mental health and the importance of protecting it.

We wanted to create a long-lasting brand not only in his memory, but to help encourage more open conversations about mental health and challenge of the stigma that still exists in today’s society. We want to adjust the way that young people in particular communicate, as well as improving overall attitudes and perceptions towards mental health.

When returning to full time work and our day-to-day lives after the pandemic, Cerebral Clothing was put on the back burner, with a relaunch planned for 2023. Our relaunch (with a percentage of all sales pledged to Manchester Mind) has been coupled with our first sponsored challenge to climb Snowden this July – all raising funds and awareness of the incredible work done by Manchester Mind.  Whilst initially focused on men’s mental health, we soon realised that whilst many men struggle, such issues do not exclusively affect men, so we decided to shift the branding to make it unisex – mental health issues don’t discriminate.

What are your motivations for fundraising for Manchester Mind? We both have close ties with Manchester, working in and around the city, and we enjoy immersing ourselves in city-life. Being a part of the local community is also central to Cerebral’s identity – we’ve spent the last few years building up a network to influence conversations around mental health. For example, we’ve been working with Warrington Wolves rugby club to promote our brand, highlighting the need for important conversations going forward. When discussing and researching mental health charities to support, we discovered the amazing work of Mind, but what drew us to Manchester Mind was its long-standing work in the local community, which has for 33 years remained at the heart of all they do. It’s been a positive experience working with the charity and seeing tangible impact their support services have on people living in Manchester.

What challenges have you faced in your experience of fundraising? We both work 9-5 jobs and Cerebral is something that we have to run entirely in our own time. This can be challenging in the need to balance and manage the time we have effectively, ensuring Cerebral builds and grows on each success. We’re completely non-profit too and reinvest all our money into the brand, meaning that everything has to be paid for ourselves. Organising large scale fundraising events, such as the Snowden hike is very time consuming on top of full-time work and managing the brand itself. We had around 50 participants keen to get involved, so this took careful planning and organising – from the admin work through to the care needed for each and every person dedicating their energy to the cause. The drive and determination to raise funds for Manchester Mind in memory of our friend is what spurs us on these difficulties and create an epic fundraising experience for all those who are kindly involved.

What have you learnt from the fundraising experience? It has been such an overwhelmingly positive experience working with Manchester Mind. Through promoting better mental health and local services we’ve also received so much solidarity and encouragement from members of the public.  Many people have been honest about their personal lived experience of poor mental health, which affirms our belief that opening up and talking about mental health is the first step to receiving the support you need. If our partnership with Manchester Mind gets people to talk about how they’re feeling, then regardless of any money raised, we know we’ve made a positive difference.

Thank you to Cerebral Clothing for their kind support this year in aid of our local services. To find out more please visit Cerebral Clothing. You can also make a donation to their charity page here: Cerebral Clothing fundraising for Manchester Mind (justgiving.com)

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