Blackburn Rovers Community Trust’s award winning Men in Sheds group visit Senior Training Centre

Today is International Men’s Day.

Blackburn Rovers Community Trust’s award winning Men in Sheds group visited the Senior Training Centre earlier this month to meet the first team squad.

The group were given a tour of the facility, and watched the first team prepare for their Championship match at home against Preston North End.They also had a Q&A session with Rovers’ Tyrhys Dolan, with the discussion focused on mental health and well-being.

Tyrhys was very open with the group about the challenges he has faced in his life, following the passing of his best friend Jeremy Wisten in 2020.Likewise, the Men in Sheds group shared their own experiences of how they have lost somebody close to them, and how it had an impact on their mental health.

The Men in Sheds project is run in partnership with Darwen Council, with the aim of supporting men in the community to discuss their mental health and develop new skills in a safe environment.

The group has 20 plus members signed up, and they all meet up on a weekly basis, and have developed close friendships courtesy of the programme. In 2022, Men in Sheds won the Health and Wellbeing Awards – Group – at the Community Volunteer Awards at King George’s Hall.

Bharat Parmar, who regularly attends in the Men in Sheds programme, said: “It was nice to speak to a professional footballer about what he has gone through and it is not easy to talk about.“Tyrhys is only 21 years old and being able to talk about what he has gone through, and he is like an ambassador now to raise awareness, it is fantastic what he does.

“It is great for the Men in Sheds group to be involved with this visit to the Senior Training Centre. Unless people talk about mental health, it will never go any further, so it is important we do talk.”

Each year, on the 19th November, International Men’s Day celebrates worldwide the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities. The purpose for International Men’s Day is to also raise awareness for the multiple issues that men face.

Ilyas Patel, who runs the Men in Sheds programme for Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, said: “It was a privilege to have the opportunity to visit the senior traning ground last week and be able to watch the players train.

“The group absolutely loved it and were so excited to have their shirts signed and to get to meet the players. Meeting with Tyrhys Dolan and him talking about his struggles was inspirational and really helpful to the group.”