A HELENSBURGH peer support group for men is set to branch out into helping women in the area.

Males Tales, which has been operating for less than 18 months, first revealed its plans to launch Females Tales at a meeting of the Helensburgh and Lomond community planning group in February.

And group founder John Lewis has now confirmed that the first meeting of Females Tales is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, April 20.

Further meetings will be held on the first and third Tuesdays of each month thereafter.

A decision was made to extend the service to women after four in five volunteers who came forward to support Males Tales was female.

Males Tales said in a social media post at the weekend: “We are pleased to announce our new female peer support group.

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“Females Tales will provide a free, no registration, non-judgemental environment for all females aged 16 and over to support each other to live their lives, no matter their current circumstances.

“Females Tales will be on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 7pm in the Drumfork Community Centre, Churchill Square, Helensburgh.

“The first night will be on April 20, as long as Covid restrictions allow.”

Due to the nature of the group, it has special dispensation from the Scottish Government to meet in person while some restrictions are in place for others.

Males Tales founder John Lewis says the first Females Tales sessions will be held in April

Males Tales founder John Lewis says the first Females Tales sessions will be held in April

Mr Lewis told the community planning group at its meeting on Thursday, February 11: “When I advertised for volunteers, 80 per cent of those were female, so we are now training up female volunteers for the service.

“We will also launch Females Tales, hopefully in the summer. We are also in very early discussions with the submarine service to be part of a new service to support submariners and veterans.”

He also told the meeting: “In the 15 months we have been running, over 60 men between the ages of 16 and 68 have walked through our doors.

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"In a town which does not have a massive population, that shows it is a service that is needed.

“One thing that comes up at many mental health groups at the moment is that we have all been locked down.

“The one constant in life is change, and the change cycle is that you can be happy in your life, then something changes and you get unhappy.

“Right now a lot people are happy being indoors and not being with other people. They reckon there will be massive long-lasting effects.

“People don’t want to socialise again, or go into shops again. They are not quite agoraphobic, but it is a big step.

“In three, six or nine months’ time, people will be getting on with their lives but others will be in the same situation.”

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