it’s okay to talk
Brendan, Chris and Ben talk to us about all things AMC
Find out what they do, why they do it and the impact it’s having
Five years ago, nine men in Halifax came together and they talked. What they said isn’t important, what’s important is that they said it and that small act began a change that saved their lives.
Andy’s Man Club Origin Story
Andy’s Man Club was founded in 2016 by Luke Ambler, who was at the time a rugby league player for Halifax. It was named in honour of his brother-in-law, who took his own life after struggling with issues he felt he couldn’t talk to anyone about. Andy’s Man Club was founded to provide a place where those issues could be discussed freely, openly, without judgement with people just like you. They meet every Monday night at 7 pm across the country.
Since it started in 2016, Andy’s Man Club has grown to 48 groups nationwide as well as online sessions, all of which are provided completely free of charge. This is made possible through the work of volunteers. Called facilitators, these men are a members of the group that dedicate their time and energy to keeping the group running. I sat down with three members of the Andy’s Man Club Stafford, who also volunteer their time to help the group run: Brendon Cotton, Christopher Pendleton, and Ben Plant.
Can you describe a typical session of the Andy’s Man Club?
Christopher Pendleton: On a typical night, at 7pm, we are all in one room and we’ll be sitting around in circle. During the session obviously, there’s some rules in place. We don’t talk about religion, medication or politics, because those subjects are quite contentious. This keeps things positive as differences of opinion can make things a bit more tense.
Each week there are 5 questions. The first three are the same every session: “How was your week?”, “What was one positive thing that happened this week?” and “Have you got anything to get off your chest?” Questions 4 and 5 will be different and are used to end the session on a positive note. There’s no pressure to answer every question, they know not everyone is ready or in the right place to talk. When someone is talking, they are listened to and then their issue can be discussed with the members of the group who will offer advice and support.
What happens outside of the sessions?
Christopher Pendleton: Andy’s Man Club doesn’t end with the end of the session. We have a closed Facebook group that is open to all our members 24/7. It can be used to post problems, organise meet-ups with other members and also includes updates from the national group or head office. It’s not just a ‘Monday Night Group’. We really do our best to speak with each other. Myself and Ben, for example, will post each day along with the other facilitators.
Who attends these sessions?
Christopher Pendleton: It’s quite a wide range of guys. We have ex-military and men in the army, guys who are just general citizens of the Stafford area and outside of it. We have people from Uttoxeter, Stoke-on-Trent, Kidsgrove, Rugeley, Cannock, there’s even a guy who would drive up from Birmingham. We have people from 18 up to late 60s, all from diverse backgrounds.
Ben Plant: It’s just guys who are having a tricky time. It’s a group of guys that you know is going through exactly what you’re going through the minute you walk through the door. It’s like a brotherhood, you feel that bond, and there is no judgement because they’re in the same place you are. No matter what you’re going to say, no-one’s going to judge you.
So how can you join?
Andy’s Man Club Stafford meet every Monday at 7pm at Stafford RUFC, Blackberry Lane, Stafford ST16 2TT. You don’t need to book or tell anyone you’re going, you can just turn up on the day.
If you’d like to find out more about AMC, you can go to their Facebook page: Andys Man Club Stafford and message to talk to one of the volunteer facilitators.
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