Posted by: Laura Hammond
Thu 4th May 2023
Bottled Up Blokes held its first peer support session in South Normanton on April 28, 2022 – almost a year to the day later, its founder and director visited 10 Downing Street.
Tim Cox, founder, and Ben Eveson, director, visited 10 Downing Street with South Normanton MP Mark Fletcher on Monday, April 24.
They met with MP Stuart Andrew, minister for charities, on a day that Tim describes as a “surreal experience”.
Bottled Up Blokes runs weekly peer support groups at St Michael’s Church Hall, on Church Street, on Thursday evenings.
The sessions are now attended by 10 to 15 men each week, with some travelling from Clowne and Mansfield.
Tim said: “It’s been a great experience and I hope we have managed to help the people who have attended.
“As I’ve said from the start, we aren’t experts and the group won’t be able to help everyone but I like to think that we give men a safe space to open up.”
In addition to running the peer support session, Bottled Up Blokes now also organise social sessions.
Tim explained: “We have done two social sessions so far. The first was in February when we went bowling at the Genesis Centre in Alfreton and Bottled Up Blokes provided two hours of free bowling for the 17 lads that came. More recently in April, we provided three hours of free pool for lads.
“The idea of these is to get men together in a more relaxed less intense environment. The weekly group session can be quite overwhelming for people to attend so these social sessions help break the ice.”
The next social will be a free football match between Notts County fans and Juventus fans on Saturday, May 20.
In April, Bottled Up Blokes became a Community Interest Company – a move that will open up more opportunities for the group.
Tim, who is also joined by Matt Harwood as a director and John Haslam as a volunteer at Bottled Up Blokes, is excited to see what the next year will bring.
He said: “I think the next 12 months are going to be big.
“We have just started weekly football sessions at Tibshelf School every Monday night, 7pm – 8pm, where the lads can book on our website and come for a kick about for an hour. This will help with mental and physical health.
“We are hopefully opening our second weekly support group soon and we’ve got a huge announcement in the pipeline to go along with that. All being well, that will help us move to the next level.”
Bottled Up Blokes meet at St Michael’s Church Hall at 7pm every Thursday – however there is no meeting on May 4 due to the local elections.
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