David will be anything but “on mute” for 36-hour Zoom marathon

With Zoom Fatigue now very much a reality for a lot of people since the pandemic and lockdown hit, one brave soul is undertaking the herculean task of having informal catch ups via the online platform for a period of 36 hours in a fundraising effort for Copelands, a new project from Belfast Central Mission.

A Board member of Belfast Central Mission (BCM), Lisburn man David Gallagher has a lifelong association with the work of the mission, regularly volunteering his time and energy while also as a member of the Grosvenor Hall congregation based out of BCM’s headquarters building in Belfast.

‘David’s Chat Challenge’ will have him speak with someone different, on the hour, every hour, from 10amon the morning of Tuesday 30th March until 10pm on Wednesday 31st March while raising funds for Copelands, the organisation’s new practice-leading residential care home on the Co. Down coast.

With interest from friends, family and far-flung locations including Hong Kong, Australia and Canada, David is excited about challenging himself while spreading the good news of BCM’s life changing work.

“My approach is two-fold. On the one hand I am trying to harness the trends, mood and technology of today and, with tongue firmly in cheek, see how I cope with what is essentially one continuous Zoom meeting for 36 hours, while also highlighting the care, sense of home and community that will come with Copelands when it opens.”

During the 36-hour marathon, there will also be a series of short events that members of the public are encouraged to register for. These include a dance aerobics class, a conversation with BCM’s Superintendent Rev. David Campton about Dementia and Faith and a TED Talk style event highlighting the importance of dementia awareness training.

“Isolation and loneliness are chronic issues among the older members of society, and so much more so over the last 12 months. BCM has created an amazing home from home at Copelands and we still need funds to make it a success for those that work there, the residents and their families well into the future.

“With these standalone events I want to welcome our supporters and those that might be new to the organisation, to learn about what we do and how dementia affects, and will affect, so many of us.”

David has chosen 36-hours as his target as his original plan had been to walk the 36 miles between Magheralin and Millisle as the former is where his mother had lived, and the latter is where Copelands is situated. 

“Copelands is a particularly relevant project as it will provide practice-leading dementia care and my mother lived with the condition for the last years of her life, so I know how important it is to have a secure, safe and comfortable space, which all these funds will go towards.”

As part of the marathon, there will also be a pre-recorded Zoom chat with rugby star Niall Annett, formerly of Ulster and currently playing for Worcester Warriors, a club that has won multiple awards for its dementia-friendly outreach.

For more information on David’s Chat Challenge and to register for the public events, visit the BCM Facebook page (@wearebcmni) or https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/chatchallenge where there will be an opportunity to donate.

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