A County Durham brewery is leading a nationwide campaign to help raise money and awareness on men’s mental health - and already has 25 pubs signed up.

McColl’s Brewery, based in Bishop Auckland, has launched the Mayday project – a national collaboration with six other breweries and 25 venues across the UK – to reduce the stigma surrounding men’s mental health, get people talking, and raise as much money as possible for three causes.

The initiative will include a range of special edition brews sold in participating venues – including The Hop Knocker in Durham and the Free Trade in Newcastle – from April 26.

The Northern Echo: Danny McColl, Simon Whittington, Chris SmithDanny McColl, Simon Whittington, Chris Smith (Image: MCCOLLS)

Beers will also be sold on McColl’s Brewery’s website for anyone wishing to support the campaign and enjoy great beer.

Fifteen pence from every can and pint sold will be divided between men’s health causes Man Up? The Grieving Pint and Men’s Pie Club – once the beers have sold out.

The owner of McColl’s Brewery, Danny McColl, and the head brewer, Simon Whittington, have spearheaded the project.

The Northern Echo: Danny McColl, Simon Whittington, Chris SmithDanny McColl, Simon Whittington, Chris Smith (Image: MCCOLLS)

“It’s something that’s really close to my heart,” said Danny, who suffers from ongoing mental health issues and who already works with Men’s Pie Club.

“For me, it was a work-life balance which swelled into making my mental health a massive issue. The workload became a crucial tipping point. I was overwhelmed.

“This project is a way to help men to talk, get out of the situation they’re in and realise there’s help out there. We want to develop the conversation and try to break down the macho stigma of blokes and beer.

The Northern Echo: Danny McColl, Simon Whittington, Chris SmithDanny McColl, Simon Whittington, Chris Smith (Image: MCCOLLS)

“We’re urging people to support the campaign and visit one of the participating venues for a pint from April 26th, or buy beers online.”

The team at McColl’s Brewery have been travelling to breweries around the country, raising awareness and producing top-class beers for the campaign.

The new beers have been fittingly named, with drinks such as A Problem Shared, a West Coast IPA; Changing Minds, a hoppy table beer; Life Raft, a session pale, plus three more expressions.

Simon said: “It’s been amazing to see that although every brewery produces beer, everyone goes about it in a slightly different way.”

“It’s been a pleasure to launch the Mayday project and to share a common goal of raising much-needed funds and awareness for men’s mental health charities.

“We hope this project will help to break any stigma associated with men’s mental health and encourage people to have those difficult conversations. The support is out there to help people through whatever struggles they’re facing.”

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Chris Smith, Programme Manager at Men’s Pie Club, said: “The Mayday project builds on McColl's innovative efforts in using the inherent value of beer and its wider community to connect people and to facilitate conversations in an approachable and accessible way.

“It also offers us an invaluable means of sharing our community with those nationwide, enabling fresh eyes on our work while celebrating the amazing efforts that our guys have put in, week in, week out, for the last six years.

“It is heart-warming to see that men's mental health is no longer being overlooked, and the Mayday Project has the potential to put the messages of Men's Pie Club, Man Up? The Grieving Pint and similar projects into the glasses of people across the country. If this sparks even one more important chat, helps one more person, then it will already have been worth it.'

The Mayday project is proudly sponsored by BarthHaasX, a leading hop supplier to the brewing industry.