Andy's Man Club Leeds: Men's mental health charity sees huge response after being featured on Emmerdale

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A men’s mental health charity received an immense response after being featured in an episode of Emmerdale.

Andy’s Man Club – which has three groups in Leeds – was featured as part of a storyline on the long-running ITV soap that saw Paddy Kirk attend a session after struggling with his mental health and contemplating suicide.

Neil Waine, one of the project development champions for the charity, explained that he and others within the charity had been consulted during the development of the storyline and that filming took place at one of the group sessions in Bradford.

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Mr Waine said: “Paddy actually visited one. We filmed it with a few actors and a few of us from the club as extras.

Andy's Man Club was featured in EmmerdaleAndy's Man Club was featured in Emmerdale
Andy's Man Club was featured in Emmerdale

"One of the lads said it was as near as you are going to get to the real thing.”

He said that since the episode aired earlier this month there has been a notable increase in the number of people attending the groups, with many citing the episode as being what made them aware of the charity.

Mr Waine said: “We average nearly 300 new people coming per week and the last one we had 400.

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"A few said it was from seeing Emmerdale or seeing the positive feedback it got on social media. It’s had a really good reach for us and hopefully it will push a few more through the door.”

Andy's Man Club runs three groups in LeedsAndy's Man Club runs three groups in Leeds
Andy's Man Club runs three groups in Leeds

He continued: “It’s a double-edged sword for us in that it is really bad that we are needed but it’s really good that we are there. We are giving guys the opportunity to come to a safe space so they can get stuff off their chest.”

He added that the charity also filmed pieces that were used on the ITV website explaining the background of Andy’s Man Club and featuring emotional testimonials from those who had attended.

Andy’s Man Club was set up in West Yorkshire in 2016 by the mother and brother-in-law of Andrew Roberts, who took his own life in 2013, to provide peer-to-peer support groups for men.

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Mr Waine said: “In seven years it has now grown to having 130 groups nationwide.”

The two-hour groups are run by volunteers and are held every Mondays except bank holidays at 7pm.

Mr Waine added: “One of the key things we let people know is that though our tagline is ‘it's okay to talk’, it’s also not okay to talk. We don’t want to put pressure on people. If they want to just come and see how it is then that’s totally fine. It’s good to feel you belong somewhere.

"I would say it’s become so popular because it really works. We get people from every walk of life. It’s good to know that you’ve got this place where you can go and get stuff off your chest.

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"We try and steer away from calling ourselves a mental health charity because you don’t have to have a mental health problem to need to talk.”

The three group sessions in Leeds where Andy’s Man Club is held are at Leeds College, Vale Circles in Beeston, Milford Sports Club in Kirkstall.

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