A Darwen Mental Health talking group, whose aim is to provide a safe and social space for men who may find it difficult to talk about the problems and challenges they are facing, has received funding from the Community Asset Fund through the Spark Collaborative.

Members of Talk Ourselves Well, a project founded by Si Donnelly, 48, are celebrating their success after they have received funding from community CVS and Spark for a total of £1,992.

Speaking about the success, Si said the funding will be used in multiple positive ways.

Si said: “The funding we have received is from Community CVS and Spark, which used to be Inspire, a drug and alcohol treatment service.

“So, we received the funding from them which will go towards buying some equipment, some advertising, some expenses and also to put 16 people through mental health first aid.

“At the moment the lads who come to the Talk Ourselves Well sessions, there is only one guy who has his mental health first aid, so the majority of helping people lands on me and sometimes that can be quite busy.

“So we are looking to provide eight places for people associated with Talk Ourselves Well, who already attend the sessions and then there are eight places for people in recovery.”

Si said he knew about the funding for a while and decided to apply for it so they could gain the extra support through training.

Lancashire Telegraph: Talk Ourselves WellTalk Ourselves Well (Image: Danny Fielding)

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He said: “I knew about the funding for a while and applied in December and I think it got heard in December or January and now the funding has been finalised and should be in our account this week.

“I feel very grateful to receive the funding, extremely grateful, because it means it gives other people opportunities.

“The course, First Aid for Mental Health, it is a Level Two Course and is also Ofqual certified which means they get credits toward a Level Two qualification and for the men that have just come into recovery, it is like a steppingstone for them.

“Quite often addicts or people in recovery don’t have that many qualifications because they have experienced early years trauma and you tend to find people of that lifestyle don’t have a great education, so this gives them a great steppingstone.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Talk Ourselves Well Man's Support CollectiveTalk Ourselves Well Man's Support Collective (Image: Si Donnelly)

Talk Ourselves Well was created off the back off two of Si’s friends taking their own lives, with nine months between their deaths.

Si said he had had enough and wanted to do something to prevent suicide, he decided to use his voice and created Talk Ourselves Well in 2020 to try and engage people in just talking openly about their experiences and challenges with mental health.

Suicide is the biggest killer of men aged under 40, and the North West has the second highest suicide rate in Great Britain.