Brian Ridley, 59, from New York in North Shields, recently completed the 12th Man weight management programme.

Commissioned by North Tyneside Council and delivered by the Newcastle United Foundation, the programme took place locally at North Shields football club.

“I have never attended a weight loss programme before, but I decided to try this one because I knew I would be with a group of similar people.

“The link to football helped, and the combination of exercise and classroom-based sessions appealed,” explained Brian.

Brian completed the 12-week programme with the help of his employer, Freudenberg in North Shields, who supported Brian by giving him the time off work to attend sessions.

As a result of attending each week, Brian began exercising on a regular basis and made changes to his diet.

“I now exercise 3 or 4 times a week. During the programme we were encouraged to try different activities, from walking football to boxing and badminton. Now the programme has finished I’ve stuck with cycling and rowing.”

Brian has noticed some positive changes as a result of his efforts and has lost over 4kg in weight.

“My clothes fit better, I’m walking better and I feel I have more energy to carry out daily tasks. I feel happier, more relaxed and I can handle stress better.

“We were shown how to track calories on the programme and I’m still tracking now. Although my biggest downfall has always been cake. It still is, but now I choose when to treat myself based on spare calories which has worked well.”

The group-based sessions were really useful for Brian and he believes these helped with his mental health too.

“The classroom sessions are guided to open up discussion, it’s light-hearted rather than anything too formal which I personally preferred.”

To anyone considering signing up to the 12th Man programme, Brian has this advice:

“Give it a try, the combination of exercise and classroom sessions motivated me to get off my backside and do something positive. It might be the motivation you need to make a change to your life. The programme gives you the tools you need to help yourself.”

The next cohorts of the 12th Man programme are available from:

  • 4 April 2022: every Monday, 6pm–8pm, at North Shields FC
  • 12 April 2022: every Tuesday, 6pm–8pm, at St James’ Park

More detail about the 12th Man programme and information on how to register for a place is available here.