Charles Harper, from Abergavenny Rotary Club presents a cheque for £300 to Abergavenny Andy Man's Club
Charles Harper, from Abergavenny Rotary Club presents a cheque for £300 to Abergavenny Andy's Man Club Credit: Abergavenny Andy's Man Club

More than 20 members of a Gwent men’s mental health support group are walking up Pen y Fan to raise money for the charity.

Andy’s Man Club is a nationwide charity with around 185 groups across the country, including one in Abergavenny with several members from Cwmbran.

We want to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health and create a judgment-free, confidential space where men can be open about the storms in their lives. We aim to achieve this through weekly, free-to-attend peer-to-peer support groups for men aged over 18.

Andy’s Man Club takes its name from Andrew Roberts, a man who sadly took his own life aged 23 in early 2016. Andy’s family had no inkling that he was suffering or struggling to the extent that he would do this, and as a result looked deeper into male suicide and men’s mental health. They soon discovered that male suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50, with male mental health surrounded by well-ingrained cultural stigma in the UK.

Andy’s Man Club

They are tacking Pen y Fan on Thursday 13 June 2024 and aim to raise £3,000.

Over 4,500 men in the UK enjoy meeting at the clubs to talk about their concerns and emotions.

Eight men and four facilitators attended the first Abergavenny group meeting in April 2022 Two years on, the club has eight facilitators with an average weekly attendance of 25 men.

One of the facilitators said: “In addition to providing a place for men to come together in a safe environment to talk openly about issues or problems they have faced or currently facing, we are also creating a community of like-minded men who support each other and look out for each other.”

“Our charity fundraising walk was the idea of one of our regular attendees, Colin Faulkner who wanted to show his gratitude to Andy’s Man Club.

“Colin has been the driving force in making the arrangements for the walk including the JustGiving fundraising page, the route, event printed T-shirts, arranging transport and training walks.”

One group member said: “It took me a while to get the confidence and courage to walk through the door. Due to a lot of life trauma I have spent over a decade struggling with emotions and attempting to take my own life.

“I think some of this comes from not being able to talk and bottling things up due to the stigma around men opening up about our feelings. After attending the group for the first time, I realised that it is ok to talk, show my feelings and cry.

“I cannot put into words what this group has fully done for me other than it has definitely saved my life. It has shown me there is a life to live and I have like-minded people which I now call friends.”

Abergavenny mayor, Councillor Anne Wilde has chosen Andy’s Man Club Abergavenny as one of her charities of the year.

She said: “I wanted to support Andy’s Man Club as one of my charities because I think this is an amazing opportunity for men to be able to share their worries in a safe space and find a supportive community. I wanted to make this resource better known in our area so many more can benefit from it.”

Abergavenny Rotary Club, Abergavenny Garden Centre and the Mayor of Abergavenny bought t-shirts for the men to wear on their walk.

Support the men’s walk

You can make a donation and support the work of Andy’s Man Club on the Abergavenny club’s JustGiving page.

Where and when do Abergavenny Andy’s Man Club meet?

Andy’s Man Club meets every Monday (except bank holidays) from 7pm to 9pm in the Tythe Barn, Monk Street, Abergavenny NP7 5ND. Parking is free in the bus station car park.

Email or follow the group’s Facebook page.

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