Danny Mills launches fundraising mission for mental health awareness

Danny Mills is bringing together current club Dulwich Hamlet and former club Whitehawk to raise money and awareness for Mental Health charity MIND

Striker Danny Mills is well used to achieving his goal on the field – now he’s set to prove he’s a bit hit off the pitch too in the battle to raise mental health awareness.

The 29-year-old has led the line impressively for the likes of Dulwich Hamlet and Whitehawk over the years but is now about to lead a new initiative to help raise money for the charity MIND.

This week, Mills will front the Shoutout campaign – three special events held over February pitting his former clubs against each other.

First up, on Saturday, is a Virtual Football Match featuring Edgar Kail – the last Non-League player to play for England (in 1929) – and former Premier League star Peter Crouch, playing for Dulwich, with ex-Football League stars Sergio Torres and Jake Robinson, turning out for Whitehawk.

Next up is a Quiz Night before the initiative concludes with a Zoom evening, hosted by Mills himself and featuring an auction and some very special guests.

All monies raised will be split between the Mind charity branches at East Dulwich, a corner kick from Hamlet’s Champion Hill ground, and at Brighton, closest to Whitehawk’s Enclosed Ground.

It’s a subject very close to Mills’ heart, as he told The NLP. “I’ve been in football a long time and seen, first hand, the affect it can have on players at this level,” he explained.

“Whether it be the anxiety of not starting a game or making the squad, to the fear of failure or making a mistake, it can have an extremely detrimental effect on players.

“I’ve seen lads vomiting in the corner of a dressing room before a game or happy that a game has been called off, just so they wouldn’t make a mistake. Fans only see it from 3pm on a Saturday or 7.45pm on a Tuesday night. So much goes on that they don’t know about. I’ll write a book about it one day.

“So, I thought I would use this extra time wisely at the moment to drive a campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues and funds for the charity MIND, who do so much amazing work. A lot of players, like myself, went from working six days a week and playing football to absolutely nothing, just like that.

“Everybody needs something to get up for, a purpose in life, and the pandemic has inspired me to go on walks which helped clear my mind and refocus.

“By the time the third lockdown, it got me thinking. People were being affected more than ever and with Whitehawk’s season on hold – and now Dulwich’s being halted – I felt it was a good time to bring the two clubs closest to my heart together.”

Since starting his career at Crawley Town and then Peterborough United, Mills has spent five happy years with the Hawks and is currently continuing his proud goal record in his second season at National League South Hamlet.

And he hopes that his fundraising efforts help to inspire similar projects up and down the country to help keep Non-League clubs in touch with their communities.

“It would be great if it paved the way for more clubs to come together for a common cause,” Mills added. “It shows Non-League football as the family it is and I would urge all clubs to get involved and keep spirits alive.”

To donate, keep an eye on the clubs’ social media outlets or visit Danny’s Crowdfunding page at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/shoutout

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