A NEW support group giving men a safe space to open up and talk has its first meeting in Bradford on Monday.

The group is the latest hub to be set up as part of Andy’s Man Club, whose motto is “It’s okay to talk”.

Jamie Boyle, who will be one of the group’s co-facilitators, said it had taken a year to get the group up and running to bring a crucial new service to the city.

Mr Boyle, 39, who lives in Bradford, said he turned to the group in another area of West Yorkshire when his anxiety got too hard to bear and he realised he was drinking to try and solve his problems – which did not work.

“I wanted to give something back for all the help I’d been given,” he said.

On Monday, January 8, he and co-facilitator Alex Clarke, who has also used Andy Man’s Club for help, will be at Millside Community Centre, off Thornton Road, between 7pm and 9pm to offer a friendly listening ear – as well as tea and biscuits.

Over the past 18 months, Andy’s Man Club has grown from a small group of men who started off meeting in Halifax to share their experiences and discuss their issues. It was started by Luke Ambler, whose brother-in-law took his own life.

The group’s success spread across the UK from Dewsbury to Perth, Hull and Teignmouth. There are no subscriptions, contracts or entry requirements other than it being for men only who are aged 18 and over.

“We also have a number of clubs that operate in prisons as well as some colleges and we have a long list of towns and cities who have approached us about setting their own clubs up and becoming part of the AMC family,” said Mr Boyle.

“We’re not doctors or trained counsellors. We don’t need referrals. We are just providing a safe space where men can come and open up. We don’t pretend we will be able to solve everyone’s problems but we can listen.

“Bottling up problems isn’t good. Andy’s Man Club is a place where you can let the lid off.

“You don’t have to talk, not everyone does. Some people come and it can be a couple of weeks or even months before they want to start talking about themselves and express themselves but that’s absolutely


“Men can get together and talk in a non-judgemental space.

“We see this as a crucial service in helping to address the shockingly high number of male suicides and strongly believe that encouraging and enabling men to talk about their problems and struggles helps prevent negative feelings and thoughts from being bottled up; where they can go on to manifest as other problems such as alcohol dependency and substance abuse, as well as destructive behaviour,” said Mr Boyle.

And he added: “Alex and I have both seen so many men’s lives been positively changed by attending and participating in the clubs and we know we can still do more.”

Anything said at the club is kept confidential.

To find out more about Andy’s Man Club, go to andysmanclub.co.uk or facebook.com/andysmanclub/