Maroons great Darren Lockyer shares his thoughts on the upcoming Origin series.

Courtesy of The Queensland Times

LEAGUE legend Darren Lockyer will head a star cast of special guests at the Swich On luncheon this Friday at Ipswich Turf Club.

Lockyer, Trevor Gillmeister and Gary Belcher will be speaking at the event which will raise funds for ‘Turn to Me’, a program that provides support and awareness for young footballers suffering depression.

Swich On president Grant Lowe said his organisation was established in 2011 by local Ipswich businessman who felt there was an opportunity to give something back to the community.

“Its’ primary objective is to raise funds and awareness for men’s related issues and initiatives,” he said.

“Since inception, we have raised approximately $250,000 for various men's related charities including the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, beyondblue, White Cloud Foundation, Men's Shed, Cerebral Palsy League and Ipswich Hospital Foundation along with various local initiatives including helping young Ipswich battlers, Ryan Czernia, Blaise Wyatt and Khye Freeck amongst others.

“It wasn't until 2013 that I was Introduced to former Broncos player Isaak Ah Mau who introduced me to the ‘Turn To Me’ initiative which we knew instantly would fit into our groups mantra.

“The first few years focused primarily on awareness however last year we were finally able to provide funds which enabled the QRL to supply blue socks and shirts and other ‘Turn to Me’ merchandise which was sold at all Intrust Super Cup games to the public.

“It is our intention that proceeds from the event will again be donated to the QRL to be used for similar purposes and perhaps even more this year. Creating an environment where talking about the pressures Is one thing, but creating strategies for the kids moving forward is an ultimate goal to our cause.”

‘Turn to Me’ was founded in 2013 after Cowboys player Alex Elisala tragically took his own life and there has unfortunately been far too many similar incidents amongst young footballers proving that something needs to be done.

The State of Origin shield and Intrust Super Cup will be on hand at the event.

* For tickets to the Swich On function which includes a three-course lunch and drinks package contact Grant Lowe on 0408 069 608.