SMASH THE STIGMA: Ball puts spotlight on men's mental health
COMMUNITY camaraderie was on display on Saturday night at the second annual Black Tie Ball.
The masquerade-theme event was all about "smashing the stigma" of mental health and organiser Emma Joseph certainly ensured there were plenty of stereotypes smashed in the process.
This year the spotlight was on men's mental health, and a diverse range of guest speakers shared their personal and professional experiences with the audience of 240.
Important messages were juxtaposed with fun and entertainment as fire dancers, a magician, and live music by musical quartet McKenzie ensured the mood of the evening was once of hope and inspiration.
Helping to cement the fundraising for the annual event, a $10,000 grant from Clubs NSW was presented to the Black Tie Ball committee by Grafton District Services Club.
This brought the overall total raised at Saturday night's event to $25,000 "and counting", with all proceeds to be donated to this year's benefactor, the Grafton Men's Shed.
Organiser Emma Joseph said despite still being a relatively new event, the momentum and support for it was amazing.
"We've had a charge of sponsors coming on board, people just want to help any way they can," Ms Jospeph said.
She said the event attracted the attention of people from out of the area.
"A lady from Sydney came up after seeing it on Facebook. She's coming back next year. It's a really beautiful event and people are falling in love it," she said.
Ms Joseph said the committee had been asked if it would run similar events around Australia but it was too soon for the committee to consider something of that scale. "It was a great compliment to be asked to do something like that but that's a huge deal. We're still brand new and there's still a lot for us to learn here (in Grafton)," she said.