A SUPPORT group set up during lockdown has been helping men combat feelings of isolation and loneliness through a shared love of Marbury Park.

Salt Men Confidential meet each Tuesday at the park to walk, talk and share experiences in safe place to help men with their mental health and wellbeing.

Now the group has set up exhibition at the beauty spot to highlight the relationship between the natural world and personal wellbeing.

The 'What Makes Men Well' exhibition will take visitors to different parts of the park which hold particular significance to men in the group and have helped them through difficult times.

Group leader and artist, Chris Charles, said: "We started back in the lockdown, and it was a response to a number of men who were feeling quite isolated and detached, myself included.

"There was a feeling of loneliness - that’s the best way of saying it - and with that comes strong emotions.

Northwich Guardian: One of the places in Marbury Park the group likes to visit (Chris Charles)One of the places in Marbury Park the group likes to visit (Chris Charles) (Image: Chris Charles)

"As a group, we have been talking a lot about moving out of the darkness and into the light, and that’s what Marbury Park provides us: a safe space to walk, talk and breathe in nature, share our lived experience and support one another, and bring some creativity into the way we share those stories.

"Over the last three months, we have been building up to saying something about what we’ve shared and how we have shared it as a group of men. That’s where the theme ‘What Keeps Men Well’ came from.

"The invite to our exhibition is inclusive to all as men and women play an important role in each other's health, wellbeing and mental health. We must all take responsibility in looking after ourselves and those closest to us."

Chris stressed that though single-sex groups may appear exclusive to some, in his view, they perform an important societal function.

Northwich Guardian: The group also takes part in activities at Marbury ParkThe group also takes part in activities at Marbury Park (Image: Chris Charles)

He added: “Sometimes men need a space to work out what they are feeling, and how they want to share it, before they start to engage with the challenges they are facing and make changes.

“It’s quite important for men to have a space just to vent, and to work things out, to be upset and learn from each other before they can start a conversation. In my experience nature provides the perfect space for this to happen."

The exhibition also provides a chance for the men to share their experiences with the public, and offer their perspectives on the importance of nature on personal wellbeing.

The project is being delivered by the Mersey Forest as part of Cheshire’s Natural Health Service, and funded by CHAMPS Public Health Collaborative and Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Northwich Guardian: Some of the items crafted by men in the group (Chris Charles)Some of the items crafted by men in the group (Chris Charles) (Image: Chris Charles)

The exhibition opens on Saturday, November 12, and will run until Christmas.

Visitors should begin at Marbury Lodge, where they can also leave a message for the Salt Men in their visitors’ book, should they wish to.