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Men’s Health Week: Getting a full spectrum of life

The 10 – 16 June is Men’s Health Week. It’s a dedicated week that shines a spotlight on the unique health concerns impacting men.

It’s said that men don’t talk and that this can really impact their mental health. So, we decided to catch up with our Silver Friends Men’s Group to find out how it’s helping men to open up.

Silver Friends was set up thanks to funding from UK Government’s Know Your Neighbourhood Fund. Run by the team behind our Silver Talk friends on the phone service, Silver Friends is a community group hosting face-to-face events and activities for people aged 50+ in the north of County Durham.

The Men’s Group takes place on the last Friday of every month at Glenroyd House in Consett. It gives men aged 50+ the chance to come together for a free lunch and a friendly chat.

Leanne Murray, Silver Friends Volunteer Coordinator

Leanne Murray, who is our Silver Talk Community Volunteer Coordinator, has been organising events that give people aged 50+ the chance to get out to have meaningful interactions:

“The men’s group gives them a chance to open up a bit more. I have men attending the mixed group and they are full of jokes, character and life. But they feel more comfortable to be a bit more serious and talk about what’s going on with them and their families at the men’s group.

“I think men need the right environment to be more open and we provide them with a safe space to do this.”

Roger is originally from London but moved to Consett in 1989. He recently started coming along to the group:

“I saw a flyer for the group in Tesco. I live on my own and thought a bit of company would be good.

“We chat about what we’re doing. We also get support. I’m trying to get attendance allowance and I got a lot of help from Leanne who runs the group. You’ve got to be open to receive the help and to talk to others.

“It supports you mentally. It keeps your mind active. You’ve got so many people you can chat with and share your experiences. You’ve got a full spectrum of life and what people have been through.”

Jonathan from Annfield Plain

Jonathan from Annfield Plain enjoys getting to talk about the footy:

“My wife said that I needed to get out more with me being in a wheelchair. She also said I needed more male company as she doesn’t like me talking about football.

“I love it! My wife says I come back perkier.”

Clive from Leadgate ended up bringing his friend Peter from Chester-le-Street along.

Peter said:

“It’s a release. I’ve been retired for three years and going from being really active to not being as busy. It’s a culture shock going from working to retirement, you’ve suddenly got all these hours to fill.

“I came along because Clive told me to. It’s a release. You need something like this for a couple hours that can make the day better.”

Clive agreed:

“Everybody is different and needs different kinds of support. If you’re coming to things like this instead of staying at home it’s better for you. You can have a chat and a laugh and feel better when you come home.”

David from East Stanley

David from East Stanley is pleased to have the support of the Men’s Group:

“My wife is quite ill. I need to take care of her a lot. But when I can, I try to get out and do something sociable. I don’t talk about it much, but I know the support is there is I need it.

“Everyone is dubious at the beginning – it's like starting a new job. But the more you get to know people the better it gets.”

Men’s Group curry with Wellbeing for Life

The next Men’s Group takes place on Friday 28 June from 12 – 1.30pm. It will include special guests from Wellbeing for Life support group who will be making curry for everyone who attends.

There will also be a  second Men’s Group starting at Dipton Jubilee Centre on the 12 July.  It will then run on the second Friday of every month.

For more information or to book a place, please contact Leanne at silvertalk@karbonhomes.co.uk or by calling 0191 223 8662 or 07841 446 237.

You can also find out more about Silver Friends by following them on Facebook at ‘Karbon Homes Silver Friends’.

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