Last week we celebrated Men’s Mental Health week as part of our Men4Sedgemoor programme. With the focus this year on mental health, we invited our members along to a team building day at Bridgwater YMCA. A delicious array of pastries from The Purple Spoon Café were on offer whilst we started to get to know each other – despite talking with each other for some time, due to the ongoing pandemic, it was the first time we had been able to meet one another.

Gareth from SASP joined us in the morning to talk about the Unbreakable Men project they are running and how exercise and moving can be really beneficial to your mental health. It doesn’t have to a gym session, it can be a short walk, just 20 minutes a day can have noticeable benefits. We all shared how we like to exercise, some liked the gym, others enjoyed gardening, geocaching and cycling.

Once we had thanked Gareth we launched into our first activity – Archery. After a quick demo from the instructors we were let loose with bow and arrows for a bit of practice before the competition started. We formed ourselves into two teams; Robin Hood and The Thundercats, and played a few different games some where shots had to be on target and some where off target was best! It was neck and neck after two games but after the third game Robin Hood snuck in stole the championship from the Thudercats!

Dan, the heritage officer from the Quantock Area Landscape partnership also joined us for the morning. Dan is currently organising a community archeological dig in the Quantocks and spoke to us about the mindfulness of archaeological activities. The concentration required, focusing on a small area of land, gradually brushing away the earth is quite symbolic to looking after your mind and the connection with the earth can help to ground you. It was quite a fascinating conversation that had us

After a wonderful lunch and some more chatting we readied ourselves for our next activity – paddle boarding. The weather was on our side today and the beautiful sunshine made this activity even more enjoyable. There were a few falls into the canal, fortunately not myself, but my goodness i can see why this activity can support good mental health. Drifting along the canal, the sun shining, green verges, dragonfly’s birds chirping was so peaceful, you can definitely find your inner calm out on the still waters. After a few games our session ended and it was time to go home, all inspired to take up paddle boarding!