Mental health-focused Denny Warriors FC sets up new support group

A football team formed to assist men with mental health struggles has expanded its operation by setting up a new support group.
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Denny Warriors FC was created earlier this year with the aim of helping heavier players to get fitter, make friends and speak about any troubles they are having.

Founder Gary Thorn quickly assembled a 30-strong squad after outlining his vision online.

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So popular was his idea, Mr Thorn (30) had to draw up a reserves list for those who wished to join.

Gary Thorn, founder of Denny Warriors FC. Picture: Michael Gillen.Gary Thorn, founder of Denny Warriors FC. Picture: Michael Gillen.
Gary Thorn, founder of Denny Warriors FC. Picture: Michael Gillen.

The Warriors have since secured kit sponsorship through Cloybank Farm and The Red Hoose bar.

The project has also attracted the attention of Stenhousemuir FC who granted the club use of its stadium for training and matches.

Given the off-the-pitch success, Mr Thorn set his sights on widening the club’s reach and, in turn, launched the Denny Warriors Men's Mental Health Support Group.

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The initiative allows men, whether they have an interest in football or not, to take part in weekly meetings at Cloybank Farm Cafe in Banknock (Thursdays, 7-8pm) to speak about their difficulties or meet new people.

Those who attend are also invited to join its dedicated Facebook and WhatsApp groups.

Mr Thorn said: “Guys can come along and just listen or they can say what’s on their mind and know there will be no judgement whatever they say or don’t say.

“What’s important for me is that myself and the two other members of the club who are invested in this have all struggled with mental health and still are struggling at times.

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“Whether it’s through trauma or circumstance, it’s important people recognise there is no need to feel ashamed about it.

“You are certainly not alone and that’s why the Warriors were named the Warriors – because every day we fight our battles and every day you’re still here, it’s a battle you’ve won.

“At times it may seem too much but you’re still going to stand up and fight it.

“This group just gives you that little bit of backing because there is strength in numbers and together we can beat any battle we face.”

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Anyone interested in attending the support group meetings should contact its Facebook page.

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