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Stepping Stones, Thurso, opens its doors to new men's group

By Jean Gunn

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The newly launched Caithness men's group JIM – Join In More – has received a funding boost of £1154 thanks to competitors in the Beast Race.

Set up through Listening Ear, the group has set up meetings in different venues in the county with the cheque presentation held at the inaugural one at Stepping Stones in Thurso.

Making the presentation on Monday (October 11) were Derek Johnston, Bruce Honeyman and Christopher Paterson, described by the organisers as "three amazing men" all suitably attired in brightly coloured T-shirts emblazoned with Listening Ear and 10 rules from David Goggins. They handed the cheque over to David Snashall, one of the team behind the local project.

The aim is to provide support to all men of Caithness, by forming groups and meeting places for "guys" to meet and have their own space or place to go.

The group which is entirely free to attend was launched at the beginning of September, meeting each Thursday evening between 7-9pm at the Community Café, Thurso, where guys would meet for a cuppa, cake, biscuit and a blether.

It has already expanded its meetings by starting a Monday evening group at Stepping Stones between 7-9pm to offer the same refreshments but with the added attraction of a pool table, darts, and TV.

Ten rules from David Goggins, an American ultramarathon runner and triathlete, were printed on the back of the T-shirts.
Ten rules from David Goggins, an American ultramarathon runner and triathlete, were printed on the back of the T-shirts.

Due to the success of the Thurso meetings, JIM is expanding into Wick, meeting on Wednesday evenings between 7-9pm at The Haven, again there is free refreshments, pool, darts, and TV.

Dave Snashall said: "On behalf of everyone involved with Listening Ear and especially our Caithness JIM – Join In More men’s group – we would like to express our sincerest gratitude and heartfelt thanks, together with our deepest admiration to all of the guys who not only competed in the gruelling Beast Race to raise much needed funds for our cause, but in actually succeeding in successfully completing the arduous course in such a good time, which was incredibly demanding, both physically and mentally.

"Their endeavours are an excellent illustration of teamwork, working together to overcome the challenges before them to see each and everyone succeed, both within the challenge and latterly, with their generosity in donating such an impressive amount of money which in turn will help so many within the service users of JIM.

Dave summarised the whole experience by saying: "Just like the Beauty and the Beast story, mental health is not what many people see or perceive it to be, yes it can be extremely daunting, frightening, especially with anything unknown, this can caused to people retreat back into their own

castles just like the beast.

"But as the story illustrates, there is something very special within the beast and it simply took some love and kindness to release the beast from the spell that he found himself caught up in.

"So well done and a huge thank you to: Derek Johnston, Bruce Honeyman, Christopher Paterson, Jack Falconer, Joe Brown, Jordan Horne, Josh Honeyman and Shane Honeyman for showing and sharing your kindness to others, you will have helped release some guys from their beast by giving them a chance to come along to a JIM group."

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