Andy’s Man Club was set up in Halifax, Yorkshire seven years ago by Luke Ambler and Elaine Roberts, the brother-in-law and mother of Andy Roberts who took his own life at 23 without any warning.
The family realised something needed to change and a space needed to be created for men to talk openly in a non-judgemental, non-clinical environment about their thoughts and feelings. It aims to end the stigma surrounding men’s mental health and it acknowledges the fact that ‘It’s Ok to talk’.
7 years later there are over 130 clubs across the UK providing men with the opportunity to discuss their thoughts, feelings and emotional worries. One of these clubs is in Abergavenny. It has been running for just over a year and has an established number of regular attendees. The club is regularly welcoming at least 19 men on a weekly basis. Some come each week whilst others dip in and out and use the club when they feel they need the support the club offers.
The club has a core of 7 facilitators who lead each session and are there not just to lead the sessions but to ensure new attendees and regulars are welcomed and made to feel comfortable.
Many attendees say that the biggest step is opening the door and entering the group however they say that once that has been done the welcome and support, they get from the group is incredible. It provides not just the opportunity to off offload and talk about your feelings but in the words of some of the attendees it gives them the opportunity to ‘refocus’ for the week.
The format is very informal and there is no pressure on anyone to talk. Sessions are free, confidential and judgment free. Talking isn’t compulsory, men can just come along, enjoy a brew and a biscuit and support other men as they discuss their thoughts, feelings and experiences.
Club times are: Every Monday (except Bank Holidays) 19:00 hrs until 21:00 hrs.
Meetings are held in the Tythe Barn opposite St. Marys Church in Abergavenny NP7 5ND.