Release Ayrshire, an online men’s support service, have teamed up with Fit Ayrshire Dads (FAD) in an effort to reach more men across the region.

The partnership sees Kev Brown, organiser of FAD, become the ambassador for Release Ayrshire.

Robbie Muir, from Auchinleck, who runs Release Ayrshire said Kev’s appointment was a vital link for encouraging more men to seek support.

FAD encourages men in Ayrshire to get fit and healthy and thus improve their mental health, whereas Release Ayrshire encourage men to open up about their feelings.

Robbie said: “Men are usually ok with the fitness side of things, and Kev’s doing great at keeping people motivated through Fit Ayrshire Dads. We’re trying to get people to open up and that’s often more difficult, so between the two of us, hopefully we can encourage guys to get chatting.”

Kev had been approached by other charities from further afield to become their ambassador, but turned down the opportunity, to instead stay with a local charity, supporting men in Ayrshire.

He recently donated £1250 to Release Ayrshire after receiving cash from GRO Coffeee in Irvine for mental health charities.

As well as the partnership, Release Ayrshire have also been creating merchandise for men to use to aid their mental health. One such item is a peppermint oil aroma therapy candle, something that Robbie says is not typically available to men.

He said: “We’ve been trying to break the stigma around men’s mental health, and one thing we identified was that there’s no aromatherapy stuff directly aimed at men, so we came up with the idea to create a candle so they can have a bit of down-time. It would be an ideal Christmas present or stocking filler.”

Robbie also spoke of an increase in the need for mental health support for men during the pandemic, Release Ayrshire has created wellbeing packs to help.

He said: “There’s a lot more worry about, a lot of people’s mental health has suffered throughout the crisis, and so our wellbeing packs are our current awareness campaign of the service we’re providing and hopefully will encourage people to chat.”

The packs are available through Facebook and Release Ayrshire’s website.