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‘Boys, Braves and Bonfires’ is a new Dorset support network run ‘by men for men’ which aims to grow and become a national organisation. It has been launched by Wimborne-based coach Francis Raven-Vause in recognition of the growing agenda for men’s health and wellbeing.

Francis has had a varied career in agriculture, the motor and leisure sector and has travelled extensively meeting people from all walks of life. A Master Practitioner of NLP, he found himself specialising in coaching people dealing with stress, anger and depression-related disorders.

“I spotted a growing requirement to help and support men at times of personal transition. The ‘Boys, Braves and Bonfires’ groups will be cross cultural and diverse, non-denominational and inclusive.” said Francis.

“My aim is to help men develop and improve career, relationships, their friendships and reduce emotional isolation during times of transition, such as becoming a husband, a father, an elder, when facing divorce, or acting as a carer, during bereavement, and other pivotal times. That might mean children leaving home, redundancy or career re-organisation.”

‘Boys, Braves and Bonfires’ has been designed to be a safe and supportive space where men bond whilst undertaking fun activities for example playing the didgeridoo, foraging, hurdle making, wood and wilderness crafts, sporting events and walks. However, a group might choose to tackle a community interest project as members’ interests drive organic growth.

Monthly meetings will take place at venues to suit the group with a speaker, and Francis is looking at partnering with other organisations to offer discounted events and activities. Membership includes a bi-monthly e-newsletter, closed social media group and a reward-based card.

“We are starting in our local community, but when it grows I will consider how best to link members, perhaps via an app,” he continued.

“It is deliberately ‘men only’ because not every man has a good mate or close friend to meet for a pint when faced with difficulties, whereas I believe women have more opportunities to meet in the course of an average day – around school, going to the gym or popping into shops,” explained Francis.

“Social isolation is not merely applicable to the elderly or remote communities. By joining ‘Boys, Braves and Bonfires’ men will achieve personal growth, make new friendships, grow in confidence and move away from the various expectations associated with a male life role.”