Fleetwood’s first ever International Men’s Day event saw hundreds gather to tackle the stigma of men’s mental health and show their support for men in the town.
Held at the Sea Cadet Base and organised by Fleetwood Town Community Trust along with local resident Stuart MacRae, the event showcased the wide range of services on offer in the area and encouraged discussions around the challenges men face.
The event was sponsored by Fleetwood-based charity Men’s Shed, who offer peer support, help, advice and friendship, as well as a safe environment in which they can share their experiences.
Also in attendance were representatives from local charities and community groups including Brian House, MIND Lancashire, The Samaritans, Healthier Fleetwood, Big White Wall, NHS Helpline, Healthier Wyre, and URPotential, who all offered their advice and support.
Andy Pilley, Chairman of Fleetwood Town Football Club, opened the event and said: “It was an honour to be asked to open this event, which was organised by Fleetwood Town Community Trust, with kind sponsorship from Men's Shed Fleetwood.
“Yesterday was all about celebrating influential men from across the area, but also discussing some of the challenges we face, and how we can work together to overcome them. The football club is at the heart of the community here in Fleetwood and I'm very conscious of our responsibility to work together with other businesses and organisations to help out those who need a little extra support from time to time.
“A huge well done to everyone involved in organising the event, I'm looking forward to next year's already!”
Other guest speakers included local boxer Brian Rose, who discussed the highs and lows he’s faced throughout his boxing career and how he’s overcome these adversities, and Flakefleet Primary School Headteacher Dave McPartlin, who talked about the importance of reaching out and talking about mental health struggles.
“International Men’s Day proved a huge success in Fleetwood with local partners discussing the services available with local residents,” said John Hartley, Community Sports Development Officer at the Community Trust, who played a key role in organising the event.
“We believe that guest speakers Andy Pilley, Brian Rose and Dave McPartlin highlighted how mental health and adversity can affect everybody in different ways and some of the coping mechanisms available.”
“I spoke with some of the male service users who attended to take advantage of the services on offer, and l got the impression that they didn’t realise how much help was available to them, or even know about most of the organisations on show today,” added Stuart. “In that respect, International Men's Day was a huge success for the community, and much needed now and in the future.”
Richard Bradford joined Men’s Shed earlier this year after experiencing anxiety, and as the charity helped him so much, he now volunteers for them.
“We’re really happy with how many people turned up today and got involved with International Men’s Day,” said Richard. “It’s great to spread the message about how many organisations there are in Fleetwood to help with all sorts of things, from mental health to getting active.”
“At Men’s Shed we offer a safe environment where men can come and talk about their problems and realise that they’re not alone. The group is growing, and everyone is welcome to come along.”