A Year of Success for Healthwatch Essex’s “Essex Fella’s Forum”.

Over the past year, Healthwatch Essex has been running ‘The Essex Fella’s Forum’, a hugely successful group which allows men from all walks of life to meet up in a safe and pressure-free environment.

The Essex Fella’s Forum draws together men of all ages from across Essex and gives them a space to discuss topics such as their physical and mental wellbeing, the football result from the weekend, or anything else they wish to speak about. It also allows friendships to form between people that may not encounter one another in their everyday lives and is a great opportunity for networking.

In the year since forming, The Essex Fella’s Forum has raised awareness of men’s mental health and wellbeing, which has led to the creation of our ‘Fella’s Fair‘ events. Suicide rates in Essex are high within this demographic, and the group have been working to influence positive change in local organisations, and break down the stigma that is so regularly attached to men’s mental health.

A group of men stood with the sun setting behind them.

The Essex Fellas Forum at Colchester Community Allotments for their barbecue.

Dan Potts, Engagement Manager at Healthwatch Essex and Founder of The Essex Fella’s Forum, said: “People say men don’t talk, but it’s about how we find ways to encourage them to do so that’s important. What I wanted to do was create a safe space for people to talk about the things that matter to men.”

Whilst their regular monthly meeting location is the Bricklayers Arms Pub in Colchester, the Fellas have also spent time getting involved in various other outdoor activities across the year. Activities have included learning how to fish with iCARP, joining Shawn Leek (‘The Mental Health Runner’) on a Walk & Talk, and having a barbecue at the Colchester Community Allotments.

We documented just some of the range of activities that The Essex Fella’s Forum has taken part in across the year and heard just how important the group is for the members. This has been turned into a short film titled “A Year With The Essex Fella’s Forum”, which can be viewed on YouTube.

When asked why The Essex Fella’s Forum is important to him, Nick Archer, member of the group, said: “I think it’s about expanding your friendship group and doing some things you wouldn’t normally get a chance to do.”

With the support of Active Essex and other local organisations, the past year has been a massive success for The Essex Fellas Forum, and we are excited for the future of the group. If you would like to get involved in The Essex Fellas Forum or learn more about what they do, contact Dan Potts at [email protected]