Half marathon challenge to raise funds and awareness for Thanet’s Manspace group

Vic and David conquering the Wimbledon half marathon to raise funds and awareness for Manspace

In March last year a dedicated group for men to talk and share their struggles launched in Cliftonville with the Manspace project.

Set up by Ramsgate resident David Wright and several friends the aim was to help men facing mental health issues and suicidal thoughts by providing a space to talk that was comfortable and non-judgemental.

The project has been such a success that there are now two groups, one held every Monday from 7pm at Margate Caves and another every Thursday from 7pm at Radford House in Ramsgate.

There is support from CMK community fund to pay for the space at Margate Caves and Radford House has offered its venue for free but David and other members still need to raise funds to pay for promotional material, refreshments and other costs. There are also new projects in the pipeline that will need financial backing such as retreats, podcasts, a Manspace resource book and social activities that help men connect.

Marathon fundraisers

To help raise money Manspace founder David and member Vic Ainsworth have completed the Wimbledon half marathon and will be taking on the  Whitstable and Herne Bay half marathon on March 24.

David, 42, said: “Myself and fellow Manspacer Vic, who has been with the group from the beginning, are running partners and we are continuing to train longer distances to get up to a full marathon and then hopefully ultramarathons!

“We also are going to try and enter the Snowdon International race in July. We like a challenge.

“Several Manspacers are taking up running as part of their commitment to their mental health and wellbeing.

“The half marathon is to generate awareness and funds to help us grow as an organisation. We have lots of plans, we want to create a website, produce a book – a manual to help men’s mental health and talk about ethos and values

“We are growing with two meetings in Thanet now and need funds to reach more men and solidify as a sustainable organisation.”

In Margate around 15-20 people attend sessions and the new Ramsgate group is beginning to grow with 7-10 men regularly attending.

David was prompted to set up the group with friend Paul White after coming through his own difficulties with mental health and alcohol and losing friends and family to suicide.

He went through rehab 18 years ago and says addiction recovery sessions encouraged him to open up and talk about the issues in his life.

On the fundraising page, he says: “Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50, with men aged 20-59 at the highest risk. So, there is a disproportionate health risk that we are trying to address and we are doing this together and have already made a difference with men who have shown up to meetings wanting to end their lives and who now thankfully are no longer in that place and are beginning to get their lives back on track.

“We were overwhelmed with how supportive the community was for this effort and have featured in local media and are becoming increasingly well known in the health and social care sector as a useful resource for men’s mental health.”

Anyone interested in joining the group is invited to just turn up at either session. Find the group on facebook here

Find the fundraising page by clicking here