FUNDING is being sought by the country’s oldest fishing club to run a project which will help people suffering with mental health problems enjoy angling.

Salford Friendly Anglers’ Society, which dates back to the dawn of the industrial revolution in 1817, have completed a successful mental health pilot project.

They encourage people into fishing to improve their well being, and are gaining many positive results.

Chairman Michael Duddy, told Angler’s Mail: “We managed to get £2,000 from Salford Clinical Commissioning Group to get people with health issues out on the bank.

“By the end of the ten week project we had 20 people in the group. As well as the fishing we made it very social with tea and a bacon butty in the café afterwards.

“Subsequently we were approached by an occupational therapist at Salford Royal Hospital to see if we would take an in-patient who suffers from severe long term depression, out on a fishing trip.

“He’d been suffering from terrible depression and hadn’t left his house in over two years until he became an in-patient at Salford Royal Hospital.

“His therapist asked him what sort of activity he would like to do outdoors, and he said fishing as he had fished as a teenager.

“The group had finished but a number of club members kindly volunteered so last week he was taken by two members fishing on the canal.

“He did some jig fishing for pike and perch although he found the standing really hard, but he had had a great time and is looking forward to going again this week when we will take him to a local commercial where he can sit and fish.

“His therapist was delighted and said it was the first time she had ever seen him smile.

“We are now starting discussions with the hospital about whether they might be able to fund something more regular with other patients, and it looks as though our club will be working with the mental health team at Salford Royal more often in the future.

“This is proof that angling is good for you,” Michael added.

Salford FAS does not charge any membership fees but has managed to build up a portfolio of 12 miles of canals, 13 miles of rivers and 13 lakes.

Thanks to a grant of £60,000 from Salford Council they also managed to convert Agecroft Pond in Manchester into a venue that is a fully accessible for disabled anglers.

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