AFC Bournemouth, in partnership with Wessex Cancer Trust, will be holding a monthly MENTalk group at the football club to support local men living with cancer. 

The initiative will launch at Vitality Stadium on Thursday 7th November. Men of any age, who either have cancer themselves or are supporting someone through it, can visit the club, enjoy a stadium tour and find out more. The group will meet on the first Thursday of the month between 7 and 8.30pm starting on 5th December. 

MENTalk enables men to come together to share knowledge and experiences whilst supporting each other. They will also be able to learn skills to help them deal with stress and adjust to their changing situation. Additionally, it will provide a safe place to talk openly about feelings and fears. It will be led by a trained facilitator and attended by cancer specialists. Wessex Cancer Trust already runs well-attended MENTalk groups at its Support Centres in Cosham and Waterside, Hythe.  

Steve Cuss, the Head of AFC Bournemouth's Community Sports Trust, said:

We are delighted to be working in partnership with Wessex Cancer Trust. We are fully aware through community engagement and our fanbase how cancer affects so many people. The opportunity to support through the MENTalk group is one that we are looking forward to, and welcoming to Vitality Stadium.

Colette Cowan, Wessex Cancer Trust's Head of Service Delivery, said the launch of the new MENTalk group will address a specific need in Bournemouth:

Wessex Cancer Trust is a charity set up specifically to provide emotional and practical support to anyone living with cancer in the Wessex region, but men make up just 22% of clients accessing our support services. This is despite them being 16% more likely to receive a cancer diagnosis and 40% more likely to die from the disease.

This year, in partnership with the Wessex Public Health Community Fellowship, we commissioned an assessment into why men living with cancer might not be seeking support as readily. We found that men diagnosed with cancer were mainly concerned with their own prognosis and how their family would cope. The main barriers to them seeking support were a lack of awareness of the support services available, a lack of time and the perception that they did not need help or that seeking support would be uncomfortable for them. Cancer will affect half of us in our lifetime and we're delighted that AFC Bournemouth will be encouraging men to access support as part of its healthcare education in the local community. We're sure it will make a big difference to any man living with a cancer diagnosis.

Anyone who would like to attend the launch or find out more about MENTalk can contact Wessex Cancer Trust's Bournemouth Cancer Support Centre on 01202 315824, or email [email protected].