Batley Sporting Foundation's new focus on tackling men's mental health

A charitable organisation linked to Batley Bulldogs has launched a drive to tackle men’s mental health.

By Martin Shaw
Thursday, 18th February 2021, 12:00 pm

Batley Sporting Charitable Trust has had a rebrand in lockdown and has changed its name to Batley Sporting Foundation.

With the new name comes a new focus and the foundation is now tackling the problem of mental health head on.

The foundation has been helping children and young people from vulnerable backgrounds with mental health and well-being advice.

Clare Black and Jon Umpleby, of Batley Sporting Foundation, who are launching new support groups to help men with their mental health

But now – once lockdown restrictions are lifted – they are ready to go on a project aimed at men over the age of 30.

Clare Black, the foundation’s community engagement manager, said two new volunteers had been brought in and training in mental health first aid was now underway.

“Mental health is a big problem right now,” said Clare. “For men, in particular, it’s a big issue and men traditionally don’t like to talk about their feelings and maybe don’t want to sit down and talk in a formal setting.

“We’ll be setting up walking groups – so it’ll be walk and chat – and later we’ll have cycling and even the chance to have a go on a scooter!

“With our connection to rugby league and the Bulldogs we think that will help us engage with men out there.”

The project will be called the Move Enjoy Network or MEN for short.

Clare said there would probably be three sessions a week with the main group based at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium at Mount Pleasant.

Other groups were also planned in Chickenley and Thornhill in Dewsbury. Venues had yet to be confirmed but the foundation is working with Thornhill Trojans ARLFC in Thornhill.

The scheme has received funding from Kirklees Council.

The foundation has also been working with young people on mental health and well-being and held camps during the Christmas holidays with sport, games and activities and advice on healthy eating.

Back in lockdown camps couldn’t be held at February half-term so instead the foundation has given 220 activity books to 15 primary schools in Batley and Birstall for them to distribute to children who need them.

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