Bumper Blue Monday session to help men beat loneliness and isolation at Washington Support Group for Men

A support group is holding a bumper session of activities to help men in Wearside beat Blue Monday.

Monday, 20th January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 20th January 2020, 12:55 pm
Washington Support Group for Men getting ready to battle 'Blue Monday'

Usually falling on the third Monday in January, it is said to be the most depressing day of the year, with miserable weather, failed New Year’s resolutions and financial issues following Christmas amplifying feelings of loneliness and social isolation.

And with many people suffering from the issues all year round, The National Lottery Community Fund has chosen today to shine a light on the dedicated community groups working to help those struggling.

Among them is Washington Support Group for Men, which was created for those who are long term unemployed, disabled, have health issues, or lack confidence, to meet new people and feel better about themselves.

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Washington Support Group for Men getting ready to battle 'Blue Monday'

“You wouldn’t think that 25 blokes from Washington would really sit around a table and make crafts out of shiny sequins and glitter, but for many of us it’s a distraction, a way of keeping the mind busy, as well as a chance to just to have a coffee and a chat with others,” one of the group members said.

The two-hour sessions give the men a chance to have a friendly chat with peers and a weekly opportunity to learn new skills.

This Monday, January 20, the group are doing a bumper session of activities for Blue Monday, welcoming the opportunity to share their stories, and explain how this group has helped them tackle social isolation and loneliness in their own unique ways.

Billy Crebbin, a member of the group, said: “Everyone has got a different story as to why they are here with us.

“There are people who are single, people who struggled with alcohol dependency, some who have wives or partners, but still feel lonely. There is no ‘one way’ of being lonely.”

Research shows nine million people in the UK often or always feel lonely, with 54.3% of people in the North East believing that reducing loneliness is a priority for the positive wellbeing of their community.

In April last year the group were given a £8400 grant from the National Lottery in order to fund a full years worth of activities for the men to enjoy.

Duncan Nicholson, regional head of funding for the North East & Cumbria at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “Groups like Washington Support Group for Men are doing a wonderful job in bringing people and communities together, helping them to find new interests, make friends and thrive.

“With their ideas, knowledge and passion, this money brightens and changes lives.”

Washington Support Group for men will be meeting for their bumper Blue Monday session from 1pm-3pm at the Millennium Centre.