Transforming men’s lives in Carlisle

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The phrase “football is more than a game” is a sentiment echoed by all those involved in the sport, from players and coaches to fans and commentators.

In Carlisle, the saying is certainly ringing true. The beautiful game has become the centrepiece for a movement that champions better mental and physical health for men in the local area.

Carlisle United and MAN v FAT Football are working in support of each other to make a greater impact in the community.

This collaboration, which was recently unveiled at the club’s “Walk to the Match” event, marks the first of many joint efforts aimed at promoting mental and physical health through the universal language of football.

Men who previously felt isolated or stuck in their health journey can now look forward to being part of a collective – a team that has their back.

MAN v FAT Football Carlisle is a weight-loss football league for overweight men, and provides a supportive and friendly environment for men to lose weight and improve their overall health and wellbeing.

The league has been a resounding success, with nearly 200 players from across Cumbria experiencing significant improvements in their physical and mental health. The success stories that emerge from MAN v FAT are not just about lost pounds or won matches; they’re about regained confidence, improved mental health, and a sense of belonging to a great community.

Through the unique league, Kev Brough, a 43-year-old Manager at a Scrap Metal and Vehicle Recycling Yard from Workington, has undergone a transformation that is not just physical but also mental.

Kev recalls: “Having suffered with poor mental health for a few years, I saw the ad for MAN v FAT and toyed with the idea of signing up. Having done no sport whatsoever for over 20 years, I was seriously doubting whether I would be able to physically manage to play football again. I also had the fear of playing with people I didn’t know, and whether or not I would be judged on my ability and weight.”

His journey took a positive turn when he gathered the courage to join up. He said, “I felt completely comfortable there from the very first session, with everyone extremely welcoming and supportive.

“Now two years since joining, my mental health is the best it has been for years. Although the weight loss has been slow (Kev has just received his 5% milestone), for me MAN v FAT is far more than just weight loss. I feel far more physically fit and a lot better about myself.”

MAN v FAT’s new collaboration with Carlisle United and with Andy’s Man Club are looking to reduce the barriers that men often face when dealing with health issues, such as social isolation and a lack of support networks.

As the league continues to make a positive impact, it is hoped that two new partnerships, formed since the turn of the year, can help it support even more men.

The February “Walk to the Match” event is just the beginning of what promises to be an extremely positive collaboration, one that will hopefully serve as a model for other clubs and organisations to follow.

For more information on the MAN v FAT programme, visit or search ‘MAN v FAT Football Carlisle’ on Facebook.


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