New West Sussex charity encourages men to open up by walking and talking

A new West Sussex mental health charity, designed to encourage men to talk more openly, has been given a big boost thanks to a community-based gym in Littlehampton.

Tuesday, 24th November 2020, 11:29 am

MenWalkTalk is a registered charity founded in January by 27-year-old Matt Pollard from Littlehampton.

It aims to support a positive change for men’s mental health by organising walk and talk groups for guys aged 18 and over.

Mr Pollard said: “I feel it is important for men, of all ages, to begin to feel more comfortable opening up and by engaging with other men, I hope that more guys begin to understand the importance of getting out in the fresh air and talking openly about anything that may be on their mind, in turn reducing the number of men suffering in silence and have reachable moments with those who are contemplating suicide.

The MenWalkTalk 52 Mile Ruck team at Brighton Palace Pier

“I’ve always had the heart to support people and what better way to do this than starting a group where we can do something easy and natural, walk together, plus its free.”

Matt Ryan, owner of RyanFitHub, has helped raised £965 with an all-night challenge to complete a 52 Mile Ruck from Bognor Pier to Brighton Pier and back.

Mr Ryan and friend Matt Morris each carried 20kg in their backpacks, with members of RyanFitHub tag teaming along the way to keep them motivated.

Mr Pollard said: “There were 12 willing participants who took the challenge. Due to injuries, though, the total distance covered was an amazing 44 miles.

Matt Pollard, founder of MenWalkTalk, left, with Matt Ryan, owner of RyanFitHub

“We completed the first leg, walking through the night, in just nine hours and had raised £650 before getting to Brighton. Since collecting all donations, the team raised a huge £965 for MenWalkTalk.

“I’d like thank the team at RyanFitHub for their support and organising this fundraiser for MenWalkTalk.”

Mr Pollard launched the charity to reduce any stigma surrounding men’s mental health and reduce social isolation for men.

Mr Pollard said: “We started meeting in Littlehampton in January 2020 and have grown through the pandemic, meeting virtually throughout the first lockdown.

“When restrictions lifted and government guidance was released, we went back to supporting guys, meeting in Bognor Regis, Littlehampton, Worthing and Brighton on a regular basis, following social distancing guidelines.”

Walks are free to attend. For more information, visit www.MenWalkTalk.co.uk

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