We’ve been working with the amazing guys over at #AndysManClub for a couple of years now and so we thought it was time to check in with them for an update. We caught up with Lucas Whitehead, Marketing & Communications Champion at #AndysManClub for a chat about what they’ve been up to, how the charity has developed and how they think our partnership has helped.

Read on to hear more about where we’ve been making an impact, what things have changed, and what future plans are in place for this fantastic charity and their brilliant support groups for men!


What’s new with ANDYSMANCLUB?

Since our last blog with Hallmark, we have more than doubled the number of face-to-face locations we operate in. We now have a foothold in Cumbria with our first group in the county running from Workington and our groups nationwide stretch from Forfar in Scotland all the way down to Plymouth in the South of England. Our volunteer team now sits at over 1000 individuals across the country, and we have over 15 members of staff working remotely in Hampshire, Lincolnshire, Humberside, County Durham, Fife, Perth and Kinross and Dundee, and working from our office base in Halifax, West Yorkshire. The vast majority of these staff members are men whose first interaction with ANDYSMANCLUB was as a group user in need of support. In 2023, we are also running our first ever self-led fundraiser, a 10k run around Delamere Forest in Cheshire. This takes place on July 16th with booking available through this link - https://www.atwevents.co.uk/e/andysmanclub-10k-9616

How many clubs are there now?

As of June 5th 2023, we will have 126 groups open nationwide every Monday at 7pm (excluding bank holidays.)


Any plans for Northern Ireland?

Northern Ireland is in the pipeline! We are in discussions with GamCare, a leading gambling addiction awareness and support charity, who have a presence in NI as it stands and are looking to help us secure a foothold of our own. Any new clubs that open in new areas need to be opened with sustainability in mind, a strong facilitator and volunteer team is essential as is a reliable venue. Watch this space!

What do you guys think to the cards we’ve been creating?

Honestly speaking these cards are amazing - both in terms of the awareness raised by the range and also the overall look and feel of the cards! They capture our messaging and mission with precision and sensitivity, and the team at Hallmark have managed to blend our passion for our cause and their passion for quality, eye-catching design with ease. On a weekly basis we have people messaging our social media accounts or emailing our admin team to say they have picked a card up!

Why do you think our partnership is important?

 Our partnership is important for a multitude of reasons. A company of the magnitude and size of Hallmark showing a grassroots organisation like ANDYSMANCLUB support is astounding. In July 2016, we were just 9 men in a room in Halifax, to be working alongside a company like Hallmark is a “hallmark” of how far we have come! It is no coincidence that our partnership with Hallmark coincided with our most accelerated period of growth as an organisation.

What are your next steps?

The next steps are for us to continue in the same vein going forward and ensure that every man in the United Kingdom is no further than 30 minutes travelling distance from their nearest ANDYSMANCLUB location. The ultimate end goal for us is to drastically reduce the rate of male suicide in the United Kingdom and prevent families from going through what the Roberts family did when Andy sadly passed away. By shouting from the rooftops about our message, and increasing the number of tangible locations for men to speak openly about their experiences with no fear of judgement, we should hopefully further the impact we have already had. We have only scratched the surface so far, there is so much more work to do!


Why is it so important to have a group like this specifically for men?

Because suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under the age of 54 in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately the centuries-old stigma and pressures on men is unrelenting, there is an expectation that men should be the breadwinner for their family and for them to be a beacon of strength in their social circle. We want to flip this on its head and point out that if a man displays vulnerability and is comfortable talking about his own experiences then this is in fact a display of strength.


How do you think cards can help your aims?

When it comes to deaths by suicide or suicide attempts, we are often told by people close to the individual who is afflicted that they didn’t know their loved one was suffering to the extent where they would try and cause harm to themself. Nobody knows what someone is going through mentally, unless that individual is able to open up and speak candidly about what they are going through. A gesture of kindness, such as a greeting card featuring a supportive message, could be enough to remind someone that support, friendship or love is out there. The fact the cards have been created with difficult situations in mind is something that I personally love. As someone who doesn’t have a traditional family situation, the Father’s Day card positioned at people who may find the day itself difficult particularly resonates with me.


Luke A stated that AMC is trying to deliver hope – what brings you hope?

Random acts of kindness and people pulling together to support one another are two things that bring me hope. I personally love the pay it forward movement, designed to encourage people to repay random acts of kindness with their own act of kindness. In terms of pulling together, something we see regularly at ANDYSMANCLUB groups across the country is people who are vastly different from one another coming together to support each other through bad times and developing friendships with each other.


How have the events of the last few years impacted AMC and the work you do?

The Covid-19 pandemic posed a variety of issues and questions to us at AMC. Would we be able to keep our groups open? How could we keep our facilitators safe? How could we ensure that people who are self-isolating are able to access support?

These questions lead to the creation of our online group, which still runs to this day and has been a huge driving force in our growth as an organisation. Originally set up when our face-to-face meetings were unable to run, our online group now has a number of unique capabilities. For people suffering with extreme social anxiety to the point where they feel uncomfortable leaving their home, the online group enables them to access support from the comfort of their own home. For people with mobility issues, the online group can be much easier to access. For people who live a reasonable distance from a face-to-face location, the online group is accessible. These factors have allowed us to get in front of even more men, and further our face-to-face growth as many former online attendees have set up groups in their own towns. Another issue we have confronted over the last couple of years is the cost of living crisis. We have seen an increase in people coming to our groups or getting in touch with us online who are in dire financial situations as a result of the crisis, this has strengthened our belief in developing effective partnerships and has directly lead to us striking up a partnership with StepChange, a debt and financial management charity.


So, there you have it. It’s quite impressive what can happen in just a couple of years isn’t it?!


Here at Hallmark, we’re genuinely delighted to be playing our part in helping this amazing charity to develop and expand, and we are looking forward to achieving even more success together in the future. For now though, if you’re interested in our #ANDYSMANCLUB collection you can shop our full card collaboration with #ANDYSMANCLUB here


Andy's Man Club are a Registered Charity in England and Wales (1179647). Hallmark have donated £10,000 to help with their aim of reducing the male suicide rate in the UK and letting men know that it's ok to talk.

May 18, 2023