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Exeter City FC collaboration supports men’s mental health

A collaboration between Exeter City Football Club and a men’s mental health charity is promoting a project which uses art to ‘create conversations’ to help reach and support men of all ages across the city.

Award-winning arts organisation, Alright Mate? CIC, has linked up with Exeter City Community Trust, the partner charity of the football club to deliver its latest sessions.

And players and staff from the Exeter City first team squad and the ECFC Women’s team got involved to help raise awareness of the work of the charity which will also be promoting the initiative at the match against Cambridge at St James Park on Saturday, February 25.

The players participated in a session where they contributed to a ‘The Tower of Strength’ – similar to a giant Jenga set made from English Ash – with everyone given an individual block to inscribe a word using pyrography. They then had their portraits taken by Stephen Raff using wet plate collodion photography – one of the first photographic processes invented in 1851. The images will be used to create beer mats, sports cards and other promotional materials.

Exeter City’s assistant manager Kevin Nicholson was joined in the activity by first team players Jevani Brown and Jake Caprice, and women’s team captain Manfy Sharpe and player Zoe Watkins.

Daniel Ridgeway, charity development officer at Exeter City Community Trust, said: “As a supporter-owned club and charity working at the heart of our community we want to do all we can to support that community. We partner with a number of charities, one of which is Alright Mate?, and support their work.

“We know that men are notoriously bad at opening up and talking about their feelings, so our aim with this charity partnership, and this project in particular, is that it will help them to reach to even more men.”

Alright Mate? CIC was set up in 2019 as a response to suicide continuing to be the biggest cause of death of men under 50. It aims to normalise conversations around men’s mental health. As well as Exeter City FC, it has also worked with local pubs, barbers and other local organisatons to create conversations.