New Men’s Club Starting to Listen, Share & Support

Henley Man Club, a new community initiative for men to come together to listen, share and support each other in a safe space is being launched.

The Club is being started by Personal Trainer, Luke Dorn and Career Coach, Gary Boys who coaches people who are out of work or looking for a career change on Monday 11 March in the Garden Room at the Bull on Bell Street from 8.00-9.30pm and every Monday thereafter (except Bank Holidays).

Luke and Gary have known each other for 20 years and Luke has been Gary’s PT since 2012.

Gary said, “The biggest killer of men under 55 is suicide. On average one man every two hours takes his life in the UK. It’s often said to be a factor that men don’t talk, they suffer in silence. Our mission is to create a space where men can be men and can share old fashioned male values in a modern day community and to improve men’s mental, physical and social health. The Club will have a weekly session for men to come and share, be listened to and socialise with sympathetic and empathetic individuals that can relate to what they’re going through.”

The Club will be able to signpost and suggest support that is available for those that need professional help and will encourage members to get active and engage with volunteering in the community e.g. litter pick, transport the elderly, labour to help schools etc. as well as fundraising.

Luke added, “We’ve both lost friends to suicide.  There’s a huge percentage of the male population suffering with anxiety and depression.  This Club will give men in the Henley area a sense of purpose, identity and engagement in the local community.  We need to redefine what a man is 2024. Over 20 years of doing PT, I’ve met so many men looking for a new chapter in their lives and looking to do something else.  If you take 20 men, they all have a different and diverse skill set that could help all sorts of people.  We want to get together some like-minded people to do something that have a purpose and a sense of achievement.”

Gary and Luke researched their idea and came across a Club based in the North called AndysManClub.  Gary commented, “It has a good and valuable template to follow and we’ve taken advice from Tim Prior too at Nomad.  We’re delighted that the Bull on Bell Street have very kindly offered free use of their Garden Room to meet every week. In the last 10 years I have known at least 5 men take their lives in Henley and these were individuals who masked the inner pain like the best of actors giving an Oscar performance and it is time for the community of men in Henley to come together and support each other like men should.”

Samantha from the Bull on Bell Street said, “The Bull on Bell Street are excited to be involved in supporting the Henley Mans Club.  We think this is a great initiative and are happy to donate the space to hold the club and provide support for men’s mental health in the local community.”

Getting active is good for mental health, so there will also be opportunities to play football, take part in a boot camp, go cold water swimming or just enjoy a game of rounders with families.  Luke comments, “We’ll also be looking at entering a team into challenges like Tough Mudder.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re not currently active or you’ve competed at a high level I can help and it is a great way of engaging and connecting in an active social event.”

Luke added, “I meet such successful people who are struggling.  You never know what people are really going through behind closed doors.  If we can just do something positive and help; that’s what we want to do.”

Gary added, “In March this year it will be the 10th anniversary of my partner passing suddenly and sadly at Christmas we lost my daughter’s Mother all of a sudden. Both young talented mothers gone too soon and when it sinks in and realising you will not see someone again is life changing.  As men growing up we are brought up to just get on with it and be a ‘Gladiator’ but we feel loss just like everyone else. We just struggle sharing our emotions and asking for help can be seen as a weakness. Men are welcome from across the community to join Henley Man Club from all backgrounds creating a fun and safe environment allowing men to open up and share experiences from both the lows and the highs of living and to empower men to realise there is hope and a way around, through or over any challenges life sends our way.”

If you have questions about Henley Man club, please email us on hello@henleymanclub.com

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