Shildon AFC have announced a new sponsorship deal with ManHealth, who will have their logo on the Northern League club’s home and away shirts.

Shildon-based ManHealth, a not-for-profit community interest company, aims to address male suicide and provide free support groups across County Durham, Darlington, Tyne and Wear and Northumberland.

They aim to support men experiencing difficulties in their mental and physical ill health, ultimately to prevent suicide.

David Dent, Shildon chairman, said: “We are really pleased that we have the opportunity to showcase ManHealth through our sponsorship.

“Football is a tool used by this charity to get lads interacting and hopefully give them a release from their anxieties and improve their mental health. We hope that we can help ManHealth with their fantastic work in preventing suicides within our community.”

Paul Bannister of ManHealth said: “The North East of England has the highest suicide rate in the UK and 76 per cent of all deaths by suicide are men. Suicide is the leading cause of death in men aged under 50 and the biggest at-risk group from suicide are men aged between 45 and 54.

“We hope by having the ManHealth logo on the shirts of Shildon and display boards around some of the major grounds in the Northern League, we can encourage men to find someone they trust to listen to their problems before they reach crisis. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

Rick Marsden from Building Design Northern, Shildon’s new platinum sponsor and main shirt sponsor, added: “We are delighted as a North East business to be associated with such a fantastic initiative, raising awareness on such a difficult subject is fundamental in helping assist men struggling with their mental health.

“Hopefully the partnership can have an impact on the North East and wider regions. The team at ManHealth are an absolute delight to work with.”

On Sunday, August 6 there will be a charity match at Shildon when the club will host a game between ManHealth and Team Solan.