With a £1,000 donation, North Shields-based, White Knight Maintenance, specialist in heating, plumbing, building maintenance and electrical services, is the first firm to support mental health initiative, ‘Come on Lads Let’s Talk.’

The campaign was launched by Carney Consultancy, as a mental health awareness programme to support the wellbeing of men in construction, the sector with the highest number of male suicides, year on year.

The programme offers face-to-face, online, telephone and ‘walk and talk’ counselling or therapy with trained professionals, with the first six sessions paid for by North Shields-based, Carney Consultancy.

The initiative is led by a team of specialists including life coach and mentor, Suzanne Barbour Coaching, who covers Teesside, Ann Hunter, Tyne Counselling, who covers the Durham area and Kate Chartres Therapy and Consultation, who works in North Tyneside and Newcastle.

Carney Consultancy was established by managing director, Angela Carney, as a specialist health, safety, environmental and quality consultancy and training provider for the construction and engineering sectors.

Lee Bishop, managing director at White Knight Maintenance Ltd, said: “I have known Angela and Carney Consultancy for five years, as the firm delivers health and safety training for my team.

“Angela informed me about the launch of ‘Come on Lads Let’s Talk’ and it was something that I was eager to support. In recent times, I have seen the impact Covid has had on the wellbeing of members of my team with lockdown uncertainty. The current household price rises and the fuel and gas crisis, has only added to the anxiety.

“I try to speak to my team on a one-to-one basis as much as I can but having a referred programme of therapy by external coaches is something I encourage my team to lean into and take advantage of. If you are in need of help, whether it’s a friendly chat or more in-depth therapy, reach out and tap into the support on offer. In fact, three of my team have benefitted from the coaching programme.”

Angela Carney, managing director at Carney Consultancy, said: “We are not surprised that White Knight Maintenance Ltd is the first company to step forward with support for ‘Come on Lads Let’s Talk’ as the company puts the wellbeing of its people at the forefront of activity.

“The suicide rate in the UK construction sector is four times higher than in any other sector, with the North East particularly badly hit. This is simply unacceptable, more needs to be done and that is why we launched the campaign.

“We want to keep building on the momentum and our message is that we openly welcome pledges both large and small, it is what we achieve as a collective, rather than the size of the donations, that counts.”

Companies wishing to pledge support should contact Angela Carney. Email: angela@carneyconsultancy.co.uk