Tackling Minds - Angling Group for the vulnerable

Tackling Minds is an Impact Social Group, aiming to get people, from all walks of life, into fishing. Be it, mental health, social deprivation, addiction and recovery, old and young people, disability etc. Our group was formed in February 2020, just before the impact of Covid-19. We had hoped to start engaging people into fishing projects by Spring this year, but due to the restrictions the virus brought with it, we had to put projects on hold unfortunately.

With the support from the Angling Trust, we hope to get as much support as possible. We will be running events, matches and courses to all who want to partake. 

We cater for all levels of Anglers. It doesn't matter if you're a beginner, or if you plan on fishing competitively, we have something for everybody.

Tackling Minds is based in the scenic area of Littleborough,Rochdale, overlooking Hollingworth Lake.

We were mainly inspired to start the group, as a number of our volunteers share the same experiences in battling mental health. They have built amazing friendships with one another, through the love of Angling.

Simon Parker - Volunteer at Tackling Minds says -  “It's when you see the smile on someone's face when they catch their first ever fish, you see the impact of what Tackling Minds can have on people’s lives. Having the chance to change someone's outlook on life for the better is a gift of immense value, especially if that someone is a child that has no concept of normal behaviour. In the majority of cases, a visit to Tackling Minds is the only opportunity they have to escape a life of violence, crime and drugs, if only for a few days.”

We plan on being the building block for personal development, and to show people what fishing can bring to the table. Not only has it been medically proven to help tackle mental health and social problems, but it also gets people engaged with amazing people and the outdoors.

Tackling Minds has already been inundated with requests to join the Social Impact Group. We have interests from people who want to volunteer and pass on their knowledge, to people of all ages and backgrounds wanting to take up fishing.

On a weekly basis, we run regular Angling events at Hollingworth Lake. There is a wide variety of people who take part. We have seen a large increase in interest for Men, aged 35-65. Through forming close relationships with participants, it is clear to see the affect Covid-19 has had on these people. 

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder subset, in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year exhibit depressive symptoms at the same time each year, most commonly in winter. Common symptoms include sleeping too much, having little to no energy and overeating. There is a vast amount of different types of Angling available to be counterproductive to such disorders. For example; Predator Fishing. This type of angling is an excellent source of exercise, especially in Winter. This type of angling involves actively seeking out the fish in numerous locations on the water being fished, repeatedly casting and retrieving the bait to lure the predator, which is a surprising form of exercise to the upper body.

We run a number of Angling events . We thrive off introducing the sport to new members. Our aim is to:

Offer people the opportunity to discover the joy of fishing, whilst learning new skills in a fun and proactive way.
Help pupils re-engage with education, building their confidence and self-esteem, while at the same time assisting with new qualifications and skills.
Provide a safe, fun environment where people of all ages and backgrounds are welcome.
Encourage people to take part in physical activity and develop healthy habits and lifestyles.
Provide fun based events for parents and children to participate together, and forge relationships with other local families.
Provide particular support for families whose children struggle with school, or have difficulty making friends. By linking children up with individual one-to-one volunteers who support them, Tackling Minds gives pupils access to the sessions, which in turn, helps them build friendships with other children.
Our weekly sessions have become very important to those involved. One parent said “Taking part in the Tackling Mind events, means that my son has had a chance to make friends. He is sometimes bullied at school, and finds it hard to socialise. Tackling Minds has made him much happier, and this has helped his confidence. He is now even enjoying school more.”
Jennifer Wood - Parent

Tackling Minds has a great rapport with many of the local Mental Health Charities in the Manchester area. Through regular visits to the local Charities, it is very clear to see the impact Covid-19 has had on people. The Charities have seen a large increase in referrals to their Mental Health Services.

I myself have suffered with Mental Health problems and I found Fishing to be a great escape from life's worries. If it wasn't for the sport, I wouldn't be where I am at today. I have been lucky enough to get personal support from Boxer Ricky Hatton MBE. He has given his full backing, and has been helping us with projects. Through Ricky’s support, he has attracted interest from a much wider spectrum of people.

Legendary and celebrity television Angler, Matt Heyes has also offered his support. Through keeping regular contact with Matt, he has offered to help out where he can.

“.........Keep it simple, clean and fun and you’ve got my attention!”

Matt Heyes

(TV Personality)

The Angling Trust has been paramount in helping establish Tackling Minds. They have been extremely helpful in the startup process, and they have remained an excellent source of support to say the least.

Keeping in regular contact with the Angling Trust’s representatives, Tackling Minds has built a close relationship with the Trust. The Angling Trust campaigns for the issues that matter to Tackling Minds. Whether that’s fighting to keep our rivers flowing, battling the plastic pollution that’s suffocating our waterways, or ensuring recreational angling has a voice at the table. Just like ourselves, the Angling Trust puts your interests and those of our beloved sport at the heart of everything we do.

Tackling minds works closely alongside Lower Socio-Economic Groups.  We aim to give those less fortunate than others, the chance to experience Angling. We want to be able to supply a  complete fishing setup to each and every Angler.  We understand that the cost of fishing has contributed to decline of numbers in this sector in the past. By making fishing more accessible, we have seen the positive impact it has placed on people's lives.

Our aim is to integrate people from the Black and Asian Minority Ethnic Communities into our group. We have evidence of the lack of interests from such ethnic communities. By increasing our marketing capabilities and working alongside local ethnic organisations, we have noticed that interest from these backgrounds is on the rise. 

Tackling Minds also offers Disabled People, and People with Long-Term Health Conditions (LTC), the opportunity to experience the sport. We have volunteers who specialise in working with certain disabilities. Our facilities cater for people with disabilities. Our venues have adequate access for wheelchair users.

Disabled people who go fishing can be some of the least supported or understood in sport. As such, we often have become their first port of call, and the only means of representation when they dont have the confidence to approach a club committee, or fishery owner, to rectify or resolve issues they are facing. By no means are we a legal team. We do however, have experience in resolving issues that mostly are misunderstandings on both sides. The aim is to resolve, and where we can, strive to do that. Or if in more difficult circumstances, signpost them to organisations such as the Equalities commission.

Tackling minds doesn’t discriminate and our aim is to get people from all backgrounds involved in our group.

Due to current Covid-19 restrictions, a number of our target groups have been affected. Especially the Elderly.

Government restrictions have stopped the elderly attending fishing sessions as they are deemed more susceptible of contracting the virus.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions our group has had to change our entire strategies. Groups have had to abide by strict distancing rules, which has led to a decrease in numbers wanting to attend fishing sessions.

Due to the Government restrictions, we have to put a stop on holding meetings with Tackling Mind’s Volunteers. We used to meet on a regular basis, to discuss future events. But due to the limitations, on the number of people allowed to meet in one household, which we used to do, we have had to put a stop to this. This has affected the way we are moving forward with our plans. We have found that the restrictions have hindered us due to lack of interpersonal communication. 

Tackling Minds survives on the generosity of the public, as we receive no government funding to deliver our work. All of the donations and bequests we receive, help those who are suffering with mental health, social deprivation, addiction and recovery, disability, as well as engaging old and young people.

In order for one pupil to have access to Angling, the following items are needed to set a fishing introduction kit:

(Through evidence based market research, we have interest from a minimum 20 people per fishing session)

Fishing rod or fishing pole 
Seat box 
Fishing line 
Split shot weights 
Rig winders 
Hook tiers 
Landing net and handle
Unhooking mat 
Rod rests

We would love for Tackling Minds to team up with you, and for you to help our Social Impact Group.

If this is something of interest to you, it’d be great to discuss this further.

Yours Sincerely

David Lyons

[email redacted]

Tel: 07425 411 502


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Tackling Minds 
Littleborough, North West England, United Kingdom

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