'We're all in it together' - Port Talbot support group is bringing hope to Tata steelworkers

  • Martin Llewellyn said the support group "saved" his life.

A charity originally formed to unite men through walking and talking is now providing mental health support to steelworkers in Port Talbot.Tata Steel announced last Friday (19 December) plans to cut 2,500 jobs at the plant as it moves towards a greener way of making steel.

A company spokesperson told ITV Wales it will start the "formal information sharing" and "consultation process shortly".

The uncertainty is having an impact on people's wellbeing. Marauders Men's Health team project manager Adam Downey said: "A lot of people are worrying and they don't know if they are going to have their jobs next year.

"Like most people, they've got their credit card debt, they've got their mortgages, they've got their car finance and because they are not sure what's going to happen.

  • Adam Downey, the project manager of Marauders said "We can't say that we can fix their problems, but our aim is to try and give them the tools to manage them"

He added: "We help men in various ways, we've got our well-being football, we have got our walks, coffee mornings, we have our social events, it's a community really, whether you are one part of south Wales or another part of south Wales.

"We're all in it together and we're helping each other and it's growing day by day."

Lloyd Fox, a resilient worker at Marauders said "men are really looking for connection". Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Lloyd Fox, a resilient worker at Marauders, said: "It's a safe space where guys can have their conversation and talk about their mental health, physical health and what issues are going on.

"Guys when they first come here, there is always a fear factor around opening up and are they going to be judged and what are they going to say.

"We explain to them that it's about breaking the stigma. Then we tell them what choices they have and it's always about community and what we can give back to them."

Tata Steel says it "understands" how difficult the recent announcement has been for its workers and the steel communities.

A spokesperson told ITV Wales that it "has an extensive network of support systems available to employees".

They added: "Not only do we have our own line managers, HR professionals, trades union representatives and Occupational Health department with mental health specialists, employees also have access to a free, independently-managed, 24/7 Employee Assistance Programme.

"More recently, together with our trade union colleagues, we have supported the training and development of nearly 400 mental health first aiders across the business".

The spokesperson continued: "We are expecting to start the formal information sharing and consultation process shortly, in which we will also discuss how we can further support employees through the transition.

"The Government-led transition board (with £80 million UK Government and £20 million Tata Steel funding) will also be looking at how best to re-train re-skill and support workers and the local communities affected."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...