THE Coo-Wee Ride, a charity in Seymour, Victoria, that supports veterans and farmers suffering mental health issues, impressively raised $20,000 for the Goorambat Veterans Retreat just outside of Benalla.
The retreat is now in the process of building two 3.7 by 7-metre sleeping pods – bedrooms – for veterans from around the country who visit the retreat for respite and much-needed mental health support.
Matt Aldridge, a farmer from Northwood, well-known for his annual charity bike rides around the Seymour region and Victoria took to the road again on Wednesday, March 24 and rode a leg-burning 175 kilometres from Tallarook to the summit of Mount Buller in driving rain with his cycling partner Adam Wells.
“Our original goal was to raise $10,000 for veterans and their families. To have been able to raise over $20,000 in such a short period of time has been overwhelming. We’re very grateful,” Matt said.
“Thanks to the support of the local community, we raised $20,000 which was enough to buy two sleeping pods.
“The retreat is now able to spend these funds on the build of these cabins, which will provide much-needed respite for veterans suffering from mental health.
“After not riding for over a year, thanks to COVID, I definitely felt it in my legs. It was great to have the support of my mate Adam there with me up that steep ascent,” Matt added.
Matt will now focus his fundraising efforts on providing relief to farmers affected by the devastating floods that affected rural New South Wales in late March.
Matt is starting a fundraising appeal to support dairy farmers by supplying them with fodder, farming equipment or funds to help pay the bills.
“It’s heartbreaking to see that a lot of these farmers have lost a lot of their herd. Some of these farms are still underwater and out of use.
We just thought we’d put the call out there: If you know of anyone who has been directly affected, please let us know,” Matt said.
“If you know of anyone who wants to donate supplies or funds, please let us know. We’re selling merchandise (available on our website: cooweeride.org.au) such as hats, t-shirts, hoodies, all proceeds will go towards it.
“Obviously, we’re still going to support the veterans retreat, but this is something we need to get on board and help out because the mental health of our farmers out there at the moment is very important.
“A lot would still reeling from this disaster and we’d just like to be able to help out in any way that we possibly can, and to let them know that you’re not alone,” Matt added.
To contact Matt at The Coo-Wee Ride please email him via his website: https://cooweeride.org.au/contact