On the back of Mental Health Awareness Week 2022, the Brewers Guild of New Zealand have joined forces with The Good Fight and have announced they are funding 20 of their members to complete the St John Mental Health First Aid course.

Ava Nakagawa, founder of The Good Fight (pictured above, third from left), said: “We have chosen this as our first funded collaboration simply because we wanted to have the greatest impact, and as mental health affects everyone we felt this this was the best way to start that ripple effect of positive change that The Good Fight is all about”. 

The Good Fight joins forces with New Zealand breweries to brew beer, from which all the funds go back into the local brewing industry to facilitate positive change via education.

“This is the first of our positive change initiatives, and the funds are from our very first collab brew with Garage Project,” Ava said, who also owns Christchurch-based brewery The Beer Baroness. “Pete Gillespie of Garage Project flew down to Christchurch to brew with The Good Fight team, the beer was called ‘All of the Things’ and it’s the proceeds from the sale of that which is now benefiting our wider industry and beyond. It’s pretty special to see this come to fruition.”

Executive director of the Brewers Guild Melanie Kees said: “When The Good Fight approached us about working together on this initiative we jumped at the chance. Like many industries, brewing and the wider hospitality industry have had it tough the past few years, and with ongoing pressures of being business owners, global shortages and other challenges we knew that this was something we could offer, that would not only support our members, but that the tools and skills they would receive from the St John training would filter through workplaces, communities and families.

“Mental health does not discriminate, and often people aren’t aware that colleagues or even themselves are not feeling 100 per cent. Sometimes all it takes is a casual conversation to help open up the lines of communication, and if we can help empower our members to have those everyday conversations then that in itself will make a positive difference.”

Mental Health Awareness Week’s theme this year is about reconnection and Melanie added: “As an industry we have been disconnected over the past few years, our annual conference and awards celebrations were cancelled, and regional gatherings have also been put on hold. Our industry is built on passion, creativity, and collaboration so this is a perfect way to help encourage our industry to reconnect, be it across industry, individual businesses or with themselves. We hope that the 20 funded places, encourage breweries to fund further staff to attend these courses, and of course we hope this encourages other breweries to get involved with The Good Fight”.

This is an edited version of a media release distributed by the Brewers Guild of New Zealand.

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