SWINDON Supermarine is hoping to tackle male suicide in the town by teaming up with the Samaritans.

Thanks to money from the Pitching In Trident Community Foundation, Supermarine have been able to update their facilities to provide training access for the local Samaritans and dedicate pitch-side advertising space to the charity.

It is all part of the Marine’s place at the heart of the local community, with president Steve Moore outlining the success of the programme so far.

He said: “I read on one of their blogs that they were looking for a training centre and I made them aware that the football club had a community room which they were welcome to use.

“Our community room was partially funded by a community grant. They were absolutely thrilled with it.

“We needed to improve the area to make it more of a training area and that gave us the idea of looking for some grants.”

Marine, who finished the season in 12th place in the Southern League Premier Division South, are using the grant funding to both improve their facilities and raise awareness within Swindon.

Moore added: “There were three prongs to that application.

“One was to improve the facility, secondly was to use the football club as a vehicle to promote the work of the Samaritans in the community and make people aware of their work so they can access support – particularly with the issue of male suicide - and finally to provide help to our own fans and supporters.

“One of the initiatives that we’ve taken is we’ve purchased perimeter boards which promotes the work of the Samaritans and the telephone number people should ring.

“It’s all part of what football clubs try to do in their local community with the facilities that are there to help the local community’s activities and charities.”

“There are many clubs that are doing good work and it’s vital. Swindon Supermarine are Swindon’s leading non-league football club and you do get access to a lot of people through football.

“It’s a great platform for people to promote the charities that you can help.”

The initiative will look to develop even further next season, the Marine’s 30th since the formation of the club after a merger between Swindon Athletic and Supermarine FC, and the Samaritans are pleased with the partnership.

“Swindon & District Samaritans and Swindon Supermarine FC know there’s still a stigma around men seeking help when they’re struggling,” added Maggie Gill of Swindon & District Samaritans.

“Together, we’re keen to encourage everyone, including players and fans, to talk to each other and share the things in life which are creating emotional issues for them.

“Our partnership means we’ve been able to share simple yet effective ways to help friends and family who are struggling or feeling low.

“No one needs to be an expert to make a difference – all that’s needed is to really, really listen and be non-judgemental.”

“A significant and key role in our relationship with Swindon Supermarine FC has been, and promises to be, a major factor in enabling our branch’s Learning Team to help new Samaritan volunteers to develop the skills and confidence they will need to provide our callers with a first-class listening service.”

Ladbrokes, with the support of its owner Entain, has launched a multi-million-pound investment programme, Pitching In, designed to support and promote grassroots sports. For more details see: https://entaingroup.com/sustainability/pitching-in/.