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Mental Health Support Group Launches in Bridgend

2020 has seen the launch of community support group ‘Lads&Dads’, which aims to help vulnerable males in the County of Bridgend, as well as surrounding areas.

It was established by Director of Moral Training & Development, Robert Lester. His company also based in Bridgend, has established itself as one of the most popular outlets in the area to develop in a personal and business capacity.

Robert, who spent a number of years with Tesco PLC as an Area Manager, works with an array of local companies and sporting clubs to help them overcome mental challenges.

Following his success in this area, Robert launched Lads & Dads using Facebook to gather men together to share and discuss problems that they face day to day. He set up a Facebook group and invited people on his friends list to join the conversations. It wasn’t long before they invited their friends and they did the same. The group now boasts over 140 active members who speak with one another and try to support each other in any way they can.

Prior to lockdown, members would meet face to face once a month to go through an agenda of topics and offer advice to those that require it. A committee has now been set up with Robert as the Chairman.

In recent weeks, the committee has worked together on producing a constitution that outlines core beliefs and how the group should operate. This has put them in good stead to begin applying for grants in the future. They plan to help in all areas of the community, from wildlife preservation to organising day trips for the members.

With mental health being such a huge part of peoples lives it is vitally important that things are spoken about. Men have a tenancy to bottle up and keep things to themselves, so this group encourages them to share and help one another. It has already seen a fantastic response thanks to the ‘no-pressure’ approach that they have adopted.

Robert explains:

“I set about establishing Lads&Dads mental wellbeing group in the time following my dads passing. I had felt pretty low after experiencing the grief associated with loss of a parent and loved one. There was little support other than from organisations that were overwhelmed with people needing support.

“I approached my local community councillor and he offered use of a room and I set about establishing a private Facebook group to allow men to join. Since then we have met regularly with guest speakers and experts coming along to talk to the group.

“We have helped lots of guys in difficult situations with space provided for them to talk, engage, support each other, and provide advice as well as friendship. We have raised funds for ty hafan by engaging in a virtual 2,200-mile Tour de France and this raised spirits as well as funds during lockdown. I have engaged with companies on radio shows to build the brand and this has been helped by OLSO Marketing with our fantastic logo.

“The total membership is over 140 and growing with bank account and constitution being agreed, allowing us to progress by helping more in the local community and further afield if possible. Lads&Dads is a vital group that is very much required by men of all ages”.

If you would like to join the group, please send the request to the Facebook group using the link below.

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