A letter from the Prime Minister, but why?
Two years ago my brother in law died by suicide and it crippled our family. It left devastation like I’ve never seen before. I will go in this in a lot more detail on a later blog. I think the mentality I had at the time and still have today, with my Whats Next? theory, will really help some of you through some harder times. It certainly did me. I believe we can either let pain use or we can use pain.
After asking the Whats Next? question. I set on a path to stop men taking their lives. I didn’t want men to have to go through with what Andy did or families to go through what ours has. I approached my amazing mother in law Elaine, Andy’s Mum, and asked her if I could start a group in her sons name. She agreed and after some deliberation on names; Andysmanclub was born.
Men actually talking.
At the first night we had 9 men turn up, which was mind blowing because men don’t do this sort of thing. The week after 15 men turned up. This is when I then went home and decided to start a campaign to raise awareness about this very topic and to break down stigmas for men and our inability to speak out. I took a selfie with an ‘Okay’ sign, after having to ask my partner Lisa how to do an ‘Okay’ sign, I eventually nailed it and posted the first picture. I tagged lots of people in the hope they would do the same and use the stats provided to raise awareness of an horrific stat.. Suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45.
The response was unbelievable and within 4 weeks it had reached over 100 million people and became Viral, Trending all over the world. I was i
nstantly doing interviews with every major newspaper in England and over seas and doing tv and radio interviews all over the world. It was amazing to see the response. There were sport stars across the globe all taking part from footballers to rugby player to boxing stars. Even Ricky Gervais got in on the action and the reach was phenomenal. Read More about #itsokaytotalk here: Metro, Guardian or Washington Post.
Letter from the PM
The last two years have been a whirlwind. I’ve met Royalty, MPs, had a letter and now had a letter from our Prime Minister Theresa May. I would be a liar if I didn’t say I was excited and happy of the arrival of this letter and award. I knew about the award from back in January, as this when they first announced it to us. I was meant to attend an event and collect the award of her in public but after a load of national emergencies the event was postponed. It is still meant to be going ahead, but in the mean time they sent the letter and award which was a nice picture to come of my work in prisons to.
What really matters?
All of the above has been great but nothing still excites me more than seeing the numbers come in a Monday night from our groups. The first night we had 9 men turn up! We now see over 250 men a night at our 15 groups and as of next week 17 groups.
All done by volunteers.
We now have one member of staff in the office and soon to have a project officer on the road which will mean more groups = more men can be helped. If you are passionate about something, don’t let anything stop you.
Andysmanclub continues to grow and in the same week as receiving the above letter we was granted charity status and as now chair of the trustees, I am excited to see how we grow over the next decade.
More groups = more men saved = more families don’t have to go what we’ve been through.
I feel blessed to be a part of what is an amazing team. We have great people involved in all aspect of AMC. I want to say thank you to all those guys who open those doors every Monday. They are all heroes in my eyes. Our amazing trustees. Elaine and Sabrina who run the ship in the office, you really couldn’t have a better two people. They work their arses off and literally devote their life to AMC and without all of those mentioned AMC would not be what it is today.
Any award or recognition received, is for all the team. Or should I say family, because thats what we are!