My name is William, known by most of my friends as Bankie Billy as related to the local football team I support in Clydebank, known as the Bankies.
I heard about this new Men’s fishing Group being setup at Improving Lives through a friend George and thought it was a great idea as personally I hadn't done any fishing in over 20 years.
After meeting up with a few of the group I realised that we had a lot of similar experiences with fishing in the past and heard some great stories about different types of fishing - be that on a boat, on a beach, or pier fishing and add to that freshwater fishing in lochs, rivers or fisheries.
Improving lives had some fishing rods and equipment donated to them by Stepping Stones to help start the group off, although most have their own equipment to use, but it would be useful for any new members who for one reason or another don’t have or can’t afford to buy fishing equipment.
My initial experience of meeting these new people was that although from different backgrounds, and life experiences, we had one thing in common - our love for fishing or angling as that is the sporting term for it. I soon realised that most of these guys have had some sort of recent trauma or health issues that have affected their lives, and not only would the fishing be an escape from their feelings of solitude and mundanity, that it could actually help with mental health and mental wellbeing.
I hope with the help of Kevin and Dhyani of Improving Lives that we will be able to grow this group and help to maintain or hopefully enhance the level that this group can function within the Improving lives hub.
Here is some statements from a portion of our members,
“It gets me out of the house, enjoy meeting new people, its got me back into fishing after 13 years being away from it, it’s good for my mental wellbeing and I am loving the banter between the guys”
“Before I joined this fishing club, I would finish night shift at my work and go straight to bed as there was no incentive to do anything else. I feel this group gives me something with purpose to spend the days doing something interesting, Its brought me back in touch with my brother after a long time apart as he loves to fish”
“It gets me out and about to new places, lots of fresh air, and now all i need is to catch my first fish to put me in paradise”.
“I was feeling suicidal not leaving the house for 4 years, this group has gave me a new lease of life, all my family can see the difference in me since i joined the fishing group.”
“I have just joined the group, it’s not just for the fishing, I get a good feeling that everyone is accepted for who they are, a very welcoming group of men.”
These are the feelings of some of our members, some who have went through some real traumatic experiences and are still trying to deal with them and feel that the Improving Lives Men’s Group has given them a bit of light in what seemed very dark places for them.
I just hope moving forward that we can attract more people who for one reason or another need a feeling of escape, or enlightenment, that there is a beautiful country out there, with fresh air and nature to create a relaxing environment to help ease stresses and any feelings of mundanity.
We hope to raise funds to make sure we can keep this group together and if possible growing to a maintainable size that can help as many people as possible in similar circumstances to join and feel welcome and wanted in a fishermen environment.
Onwards and Upwards the Improving Lives Men’s Group.