Homebuilding chief encourages more men to talk about mental health

The chief executive of a leading North West homebuilder is encouraging more men to talk about their mental health to help reduce high rates of suicide across Cumbria.

Genesis Homes and its sister company Rusell Armer Homes have chosen male suicide prevention organisation ANDYSMANCLUB as its charity of the year for 2024, and will raise money for, and awareness of, the charity which hosts weekly sessions welcoming men to open up about their feelings.

Nicky Gordon, the Chief Executive of Genesis Homes, has been touched by the great work ANDYSMANCLUB has done nationwide to break down the stigma of men’s mental health. 

Genesis Homes’ Chief Executive Nicky Gordon.

By selecting it as Genesis’ charity of the year, he wants to support ANDYSMANCLUB’s expansion in Cumbria with sessions every Monday at 7pm now being held at Carlisle United Community Trust, Whitehaven AFC, Derwent Park in Workington, James Walker & Co in Cockermouth and Grasslot Welfare Sports and Social Club in Maryport. 

Figures released from the Office of National Statistics revealed that Cumbria has a 50 per cent higher suicide rate than the England average, with Copeland placed sixth for the highest suicide rate by district.

Nicky said: “It is heartbreaking to read the stats about the high level of suicides in Cumbria. The facts are in black and white that 74% of suicides in the UK involve men, and measures need to be implemented to try to reduce this worrying trend.

“For whatever reason, there has always been a stigma around men showing emotion, talking about their mental health and letting others know they’re struggling as if it is some sort of weakness. 

“What ANDYSMANCLUB does is let men know that it’s not a sign of weakness. Conversely, it is okay to talk and share your feelings – that to me shows bravery.

“I have heard so much positivity about ANDYSMANCLUB and how their weekly sessions can provide lifelines for men having a tough time by bringing people together every Monday evening and letting them know they’re not alone in whatever fight they’re fighting.

“The charity has proven that talking can save lives, and we want the whole of Cumbria to throw its weight behind this amazing charity and that is why we are so passionate about supporting ANDYSMANCLUB as a business.”

ANDYSMANCLUB was established seven years ago following the death of Andrew Roberts, who died of suicide at the age of 23, to offer a place men could gather regularly and talk about their mental health in a non-judgmental environment.

A stilt walker from Explosive Productions entertains guests at Genesis Homes’ Charity Ball.

The charity now has more than 170 locations throughout the UK, with further clubs to open in the coming months.

Lucas Whitehead, the Head of Marketing and Partnerships at ANDYSMANCLUB, said: “Thank you to Genesis Homes for selecting ANDYSMANCLUB as its charity of the year  for 2024. In early 2023, we opened our doors to the men of Cumbria for the first time in Workington, and in the period since, we have opened groups in Cockermouth, Maryport, Carlisle and Whitehaven.

“This partnership could not come at a better time as we look to expand into the wider region, including a new club in Barrow-in-Furness in February. We can’t wait to work with Genesis Homes going forward.”

To promote wellbeing at work, Nicky has introduced a number of initiatives at Genesis Homes including regular staff social events, monthly wellbeing walks and encouraging staff to be trained in mental health first aid.

In 2023, Genesis Homes raised more than £45,000 for its charity of the year, Annie Mawson’s Sunbeams Music Trust.

More details about ANDYSMANCLUB and where sessions are held can be found at www.andysmanclub.co.uk.

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