The charity ‘StrongMen’ has been awarded £3,000 from Elected Mayor Peter Taylor’s Small Grant Fund...
The charity ‘StrongMen’, set up by two ex-contestants on Channel 4's SAS: Who Dares Wins and which encourages men to open up about bereavement in a safe and secure environment, has been awarded £3,000 from Elected Mayor Peter Taylor’s Small Grant Fund.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges, particularly those impacted by their experiences of loss over the last year, as well as many struggling with isolation and their mental health. In addition, the male suicide rate is climbing year on year in spite of several high-profile royalty-led campaigns to promote the benefits of talking.
This national mental health crisis, particularly with men, has made it clear that there is a need for further support and guidance for those most in need and this year Elected Mayor Peter Taylor prioritised bereavement and mental health charities in his Small Grant programme.
The charity's co-founder is Efrem Brynin, whose son James was tragically killed in action in Afghanistan on 15 October 2013. StrongMen is part of James' legacy and encourages men to open up about bereavement, alongside their peers, in a safe and secure environment. Their main two bereavement services are the Weekender and Man2Man, which due to funding from the Mayor’s Small Grants Fund will now support Watford residents.
StrongMen Ambassador Troy Deeney with StrongMen co-founder Dean Cross
The Weekender is a weekend break for men who have suffered a bereavement where they can meet other men, participate in some physical exercise and form close bonds with people of a similar life experience to them. They create a network of support that was previously unavailable to these men and has described as lifesaving and life-changing. The idea of their other service Man2Man, which provides peer support on the telephone to people who need help instantly, was created during the first lockdown back in March 2020, and has been a lifeline for many users.
The StrongMen 'Weekender Retreat' is our unique premier service, where groups of men have the opportunity to relax and enjoy beautiful remote surroundings whilst engaging in conversation and physical activities in a safe, secure environment with other men with shared experiences.
Speaking about his background and the charity, Efrem said: “Five years ago I participated in Channel 4's SAS: Who Dares Wins, while the following year a guy called Dan Cross took part in the series. His wife, Nikki, was tragically murdered while Dan was away on business and so given what we had both been through, we developed the idea of an alternative support service for men who had lost someone – be it a partner, child, parent, friend or even colleague.
“Men need to talk more and StrongMen is based around taking guys to remote, beautiful locations, providing a safe and secure environment for them to share experiences with men who have suffered similar experiences. Our weekenders cost us around £500 per person and therefore, we are extremely grateful for the donation we have received from Mayor Peter Taylor’s Small Grants Fund.
Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor said: "StrongMen are a brilliant charity that has a really unique concept around tackling mental health for bereaved men. The pandemic has brought the importance of mental health and wellbeing to the forefront of everybody’s mind as it becomes clearer that we are facing a huge challenge to people’s mental health.”
“One in four of us will suffer from poor mental health at some point in our lives; it really is ok to feel not ok and to remember you are not alone when you feel like this. Now, more than ever, it is important to care for your mental wellbeing.”
StrongMen co-founders Efrem Brynin and Dan Cross who both appeared on Channel 4's SAS: Who Dares Wins