June 15, 2022 7.00 am

Group supporting 100s of men with mental health launches own football shirt

The group runs free walking football sessions

A mental health support group in Scunthorpe which has supported hundreds of men since launching three years ago has now launched its very own replica football shirt.

The One For The Lad’s group was set up by Des Comerford and Graeme Johnson who felt there wasn’t enough being done for men with mental health issues in the local area. The group continues to go from strength to strength and now has around 250 members.

The group holds free weekly meetings in the town’s Wortley House Hotel on Wednesdays between 6pm-8pm. It also holds free walking football sessions for members at 1pm on Sundays at the Brumby Hall ground, which is home to Appleby-Frodingham FC, for people of all different fitness levels.

The group believes it may be the first of its kind in the country to have its own bespoke replica football shirts, which are now on sale priced at £40 and available in sizes from medium to 4XL – anyone interested in purchasing one should contact the One For The Lads Facebook page online here.

The shirt was manufactured by sportswear brand VX3 and are in the support group’s colour of green. The replica shirts are being sponsored by Des’ fashion retail company True Heroes London, and they feature the One For The Lads club crest, which was designed by group member Clyde Longcake.

Des Comerford, co-founder of One For The Lads, said: “It is a group of lads who have got their own individual issues, coming together to sit around tables and talk about everyday life.

“We have created a safe haven, a place where everybody can come along and be in a non-judgemental environment.

“All of the lads support each other and the general consensus is they look forward to the weekly meetings and it is an important date in their diaries.

“None of us are medically trained but many of the lads are very experienced in their battles with mental health issues and this certainly helps other members.”

On the new replica football shirts, Des added: “It will provide much-needed funds to help and support all of our members. We are working on a number of community projects which the money will go towards and all of them will benefit our group members.”

One For The Lads including group member and local former bare knuckle boxing champion Jody Meikle (back centre). | Photo: One For The Lads

Group member Clyde, who designed the club crest, said: “It all came about when I was having a conversation with another member after walking football and I heard Des saying he was looking to produce a football shirt for the group.I offered to design the badge and the rest is history, really.

“I never dreamed that out of a five-minute conversation, I would be involved with helping to produce such a lovely shirt.

“I have also been told some well-known celebrities have already agreed to wear the shirt in support of our mental health group.”

The recent shirt launch also one of the group’s members called Dave speak about the importance of the group which helped save his life.

Dave said: “For me, One For The Lads gives a sense of camaraderie and a sense that we are all in this together.

“It is a community – not just a support group, not just a mental health group, an actual living, thriving community. A band of brothers.

“What the lads do every week is nothing short of remarkable. It shows just how strong people can be but it also shows the fragility of life.

“The two co-founders who set it up are probably the strongest people you will ever meet. They didn’t do it for accolades or anything like that, they did it to be part of a change.

“They showed me and told me that it really is ok not to be ok and I can say, hand on heart, that the group definitely saved my life.”