Meet the brave West Yorkshire 20-year-old who escaped a life of gang culture and violence to become youngest facilitator of Andy’s Man Club

A West Yorkshire 20-year-old has told how he escaped a life of gang culture and violence to become the youngest facilitator of Andy’s Man Club.

Thursday, 13th February 2020, 6:00 am

Dylan Black, from Huddersfield, told the Yorkshire Evening Post how he had ‘no purpose’ growing up and had come to a point where he thought of taking his own life due to the lifestyle he was living.

However, after joining sessions at Andy’s Man Club, Dylan said his life had entirely changed.

He said: “To put it simply, I don't think Andy's Man Club saved my life, I think they gave me an entirely new life.”

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Dylan Black

Incredibly, Dylan has become a magician through the help of the men at the group.

Speaking at the second anniversary event for the Leeds group, Dylan told how the fellow members of the group had done everything from ‘putting up curtain poles’ in his home to ‘helping to apply for jobs’.

He had even been hired for the event by members of the Leeds group to entertain youngsters and families with close-hand magic at the Brudenell Social Club.

Dylan added: “I had no purpose before and now I am a magician.

"They have helped every step of the way, from talking to coming to my home to fit curtain poles and everything in between.

"They have helped me in job applications and finding work.

"I have been going a year this month.

"I have made personal friends, I was suffering mentally and Andy's Man Club has helped me start to fix my problems.”

Dylan’s story comes as the YEP is also campaigning to break down the stigma surrounding mental health issues, as part of our #SpeakYourMind campaign.

First launched in 2016, our campaign has received high-profile backing from the likes of Prime Minister Theresa May and Kensington Palace.

Dylan said he hoped - in his role as a facilitator at the Huddersfield group - he could help to grow and expand the group in the future.

He added: “The numbers are growing week on week.

"Young people who attend now often go under my wing, they start to open up because I am young too.

"I have never had any prejudice from any older men or anything like that, everyone has just been so supportive.

"I would push anyone to go who is struggling, or literally anyone who just wants a chat.

"You can come and just sit and listen, everyone is welcome.

"I couldn't recommend it enough.”

The group meets at 7pm every Monday apart from Bank Holidays at Leeds College of Building.

For more information email [email protected]