On Thursday 19th of November 2020, The International Men’s day 2020, facilitated by The Washington Group and sponsored by Blackpool Transport, saw young men, practitioners, businesses, sector leaders and organisations, from across the Fylde Coast, come together to talk young men’s mental health.

Taking part in the IMD 2020 evening zoom event were:

  • Blackpool Transport
  • Empowerment
  • The Mina Group
  • 3rd Medical Regiment
  • Headstart Blackpool
  • Baines Academy
  • Blackpool Carers Centre
  • The Magic Club
  • Steve Walker – University of Cumbria/Fed of detached youthwork
  • The Responsible Business Network
  • MYP Andrew Speight
  • Chris Webb Deputy Police and Crime and Commissioner
  • Simon Rothwell – Addaction

The online zoom event saw over 35 individuals come together to explore the impact of mental health and discuss how we as a community can support young men’s mental health.

Each young man received a mental wellbeing self-care package, which included donations from the community:

  • Blackpool Transport mug and COVID19 Mask from Blackpool Transport
  • IMD 2020 biscuits by Pudalicious
  • Squishy balls by The Washington Group
  • Coffee treats by Fylde Tuition Centre
  • Sweets and debt advice by Adcroft Hilton Ltd
  • Treats by House of Confection Couture
  • Food/water bottles from Fylde Food banks
  • USB sticks by National Youth Agency

The event was opened by Pete Crossley, Director of The Washington Group. Cpl Gregory Amuntung, 3rd Medical Regiment, in Cyprus, delivered the mental wellbeing ice breaker, exploring the impact of communication.

Steve Walker, from The University of Cumbria, led the breakout rooms, exploring how we can support each other, what we mean by selfcare and exploring our pledges and we, as a community, move forward. Alongside having a collective voice and call for action.

Baines School Year 11 group, presented their amazing video about young men’s mental health, talking through their views and solutions to supporting young men.

Baines High School young men ‘The experience was enlightening’

‘I really enjoyed the experience and really changed how I saw Men’s health’ ‘The meeting was really good and it made everyone feel so involved’

Empowerment Charity launched a very important project as part of the IMD2020 Event.  Catherine Taylor, mother of Elliot Taylor, talked to the group about her wonderful son, who sadly lost his life to suicide, this year. Catherine explained how it was so vital that accessible services were available to support young men to talk. Mike Crowther launched Elliot’s place, a space within the Empowerment Sanctuary garden specifically for young men. The target is £10,000 and once this is reached, a building will be built in memory of Elliot, called Elliot’s Place.

The event ended with The Washington Group and The Mina Group, presenting a musical collage of the 100s of IMD2020 pledges made by colleagues, organisations, sector leaders, schools, youth organisations, community members, MPs, business leaders and young people.

The next phase in the IMD Project is the collection of the young men’s stories from across the youth groups, each of the stories will be collated and developed into a digital story.

Pete Crossley Director The Washington Group

‘International Men’s Day is an opportunity for the community on The Fylde Coast t show our support for young men’s mental health. We are very proud of the partnership and the collective work each organisation has demonstrated in the call to action to end the stigma of talking about your mental health. It was a privilege to chair the event, on behalf of TWG. My two big takeaways were, as a man it’s ok not to feel ok and always ask twice, are you ok?….. but are you really ok?

Jane Cole Managing Director Blackpool Transport

“We recognise the importance of young men’s mental health and we’re a proud supporter of International Men’s Day 2020. This year more than ever we need to be kind and help each other. Blackpool Transport are an integral part of the communities that we serve and it’s only right that we’re helping to raise the profile of men’s mental health and wellbeing and encouraging conversation”. 

Jake Adams CEO The Mina Group

Our mental health is a significant factor in our well being for us as individuals and to support our staff team as well as our community. We are young workforce who know how difficult it can be to talk about your mental health, that said, we want to encourage more young men to be able to talk to their mates and not feel awkward doing this.  We are proud to be supporting this event and working alongside The Washington Group to ensure as a community we can work together.

Mike Crowther CEO Empowerment

Empowerment is a Blackpool based charity passionate about everyone’s voices being heard and responded to with kindness and compassion. This is so true about young men in Blackpool and the Fylde Coast who are experiencing mental illness and are just not being heard! Together we have to break the stigma about young men being able to talk openly and honestly about the struggles they are going through. I am delighted that the Washington Group have decided to spearhead this year’s event and wish it every success.

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