Shad Chefs, The Council Estate Food Connoisseurs, will launch a support group in February which is aimed at tackling male suicide.

Shad Chef’s Man Hub will be a male focussed support group where men can meet up to talk about any issues they have without facing judgement or criticism.

It will be located at the Shadsworth Hub on Rothesay Rd, Blackburn, and will be open from Thursday 10 February.  

Lancashire Telegraph: Shane Calvert (right) at Shadsworth Hub in BlackburnShane Calvert (right) at Shadsworth Hub in Blackburn

According to a member of the group, Shane Calvert, the hub is the final stage of the group’s male suicide prevention campaign.

It will be run and organised by Shane and six other Shad Chefs members.

Shane said: “We are trying to break the stigma of men being unable to talk about their feelings.

“So, we have managed to secure funding at Shadsworth Hub which enables us to rent a room up there for a year.”

While the group has been campaigning for mental health for years, their efforts increased after the death of their friend, Nicolo Marchese, who took his own life in May 2021.

In October they left posters around Blackburn which were covered in faces of local men as well as mental health charities.

Lancashire Telegraph: Nicolo MarcheseNicolo Marchese

Shane said: “Nicolo moved in the same circles as me and his death affected a lot of people around Shadsworth.

“We hope the Man Hub can make some kind of difference”.

Shane and the rest of the Shad Chefs hope this final stage in the campaign can do even more to encourage men to open up – or at least use the room as a safe space to escape to.

He said: “We are going to do some group work, ask people questions and more about how their week has been and if they need to get something off their chest.

“Some people might not want to talk so we also have a pool table and tennis table where men can just come to relax.

“We hope it is a place where people can unload and avoid getting to a point where they want to take their own lives.”

The announcement was only made this week, but the Shad Chefs has already received a “really good” public response from it.

He said: “We have had loads of people get in touch asking if they can be involved.

“I think we have had three or four in the inbox already asking if they can attend the Man Hub, so there is clearly a need for this kind of thing in the community”.

According to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics, 4912 suicides were registered in 2020.

Male suicide rates were higher than that of women’s and were 15.3 per 100,000 compared to the female suicide rate of 4.9 per 100,000.

Males aged 45-49 continue to have the highest suicide rate (23.8 per 100,000)

Shad Chefs’ Man Hub starts Thursday 10th February. It will take place every Thursday night, 7pm-9pm, at The Shadsworth Hub on Rothesay Road.

To find out more, visit the Shads Chefs – The Council Connoisseurs Facebook page.