Skip to content

Kulture Break ‘moves together to create impact’ in new challenge for youth mental health

31 October 2022 | Darlene Rowlands

Kulture Break dancers

Kulture Break CEO Francis Owusu with participants of the 24 Hour Movement Challenge. Photo: Dani Hardgrave.

“When you’re tired and you feel like giving up, and you’ve only been here for six hours, you can start to understand how young people feel when they have to continue to deal with their issues 24 hours a day.”

That’s how Kulture Break CEO Francis Owusu described the inspiration behind the organisation’s most recent event, the 24-Hour Movement Challenge.

Kulture Break is a social wellbeing organisation for young people that has been in business for 20 years. The 24-Hour Movement Challenge continues the group’s efforts to promote wellbeing through movement, with Canberra businesses having their own people step up to raise money for young people’s mental health.

From 6 pm on 27 October to 6 pm the following day, the business teams relayed through new activities – from walking to strength movements – every hour for a movement cycle of six hours. The challenge took place in Amalgamated Property’s Civic Quarter building.

The funds raised will go towards supporting 100 young people to participate in Kulture Break’s programs in 2023, with a particular focus on addressing mental health.

Of the [number] teams participating, at least one person from each had to be present for the entirety of the challenge. While most participants had come and gone after doing their bit, Region‘s own Commercial Director Adam Gill was one of the few who had remained for 24 hours from 6 pm Thursday night.

“I was getting really tired around 3 am, but now I’m wide awake,” Mr Gill said, with no plans to sleep until finishing the challenge.

For Mr Gill and the others who did sustain the full 24 hours, a number of physiotherapists were on site for support. Mr Owusu admitted with a laugh that he also needed them at an earlier point in the challenge.

“I did use them!” he said, “and they did all right because now my ankle’s loosened a bit.”

He said it was through “really good word of mouth” that Canberra businesses were willing to get involved in the challenge. He also believes that Kulture Break’s longevity has meant “businesses are more aware of the impact Kulture Break has on the community”.

He said that although there had been “a bit of trepidation” from individual participants about the prospect of having to exercise for 24 hours straight, the challenge was definitely “a team thing, so you move for 24 hours as a team”.

Talking to Mr Owusu, it was clear that the length and team effort aspects of the challenge were certainly no accident, reflecting Kulture Break’s broader ethos on wellbeing.

“When it comes to mental health and wellbeing, we can move together to create impact,” he said.

Young people are dealing with mental health, anxiety, depression … these are issues they’re faced with 24/7. Doing something like the 24-Hour Movement Challenge was us stepping in and saying we want to help.”

When Michael D’Elboux of Amalgamated Property Group was asked whether he had seen any firsthand examples of Kulture Break’s impact over the near-20 years of his involvement with it, he said there were “too many to mention”.

“I could give you a hundred stories.”

Mr D’Elboux agreed that the challenge’s focus on mental health was of particular importance because of the strong expectations placed on young people.

“I’ve done a lot of work with young men growing from adolescents to the age of 18. They turn 18 and society says, ‘You should know it all’. We actually treat them quite harshly, from my experience.”

The young people who will be supported by the challenge’s fundraising remain at the forefront of the participants’ thoughts.

Four women and a man

Civium was one of the many Canberra businesses taking part in the challenge. Photo: Dani Hardgrave

“I hope [they] know that they’re not alone and that there are people out there who will go 24 hours for them because we actually care,” Mr D’Elboux said. “We’ve had people in here at 3 or 4 in the morning, just zombies really, but they got on their next machine and kept going because we want to show that example.

“If you didn’t care, you’d be going to bed.”

The 24-Hour Movement Challenge was supported by a range of Canberra businesses, including Harvey Norman, Crossfit 2600, Amalgamated Property Group, Trinity Law, Tiffen and Co, Elevated Living, Indesco, Civium, Ray White and LJ Hooker. By 10:40 am on Friday (28 October), the businesses had collectively raised about $77,000.

“These participants, they won’t forget this in a hurry,” Mr D’Elboux said.