Community Hero: Paul Rathbone

Posted: Monday 13th July 2020 - 5:00 PM

Tigers fan Paul setup Talk Tonight in Selby to give people a place to talk, judgement-free and lend a caring ear. Since being set up in October 2019 the group sessions before the COVID-19 pandemic were welcoming 35-50 people, whilst the Facebook group now has over 350 members who really benefit from its support.

During the pandemic, Paul has continued to support others with Zoom meetings, live Facebook video updates and exercise groups that give other people the chance to get out of the house to keep fit and have a chat, and it’s proven to be really popular.

On top of that, he has been raising money for Talk Tonight Selby with a car boot style sale outside his own home with items donated from people in the group.

At Easter alongside the Mayoress of Selby Paul assisted delivering Easter eggs, socially distanced, to homes that were showing support to the NHS with rainbows and thank you messages in the window.

With the good things Paul has been doing his wife Aimee, along with many others, decided to nominate him for the Tigers Community Hero Awards, in association with club partners Hannafin Contractors. The award aims to recognise and reward people that have made a significant difference in their local community.

“Thank you, that’s amazing, I’m absolutely buzzing,” said Paul.

“I’ve been a Castleford Tigers fan since about 2004 but I did play for Featherstone Rovers Academy when I was younger, but I always liked them.

“I started Talk Tonight with my wife because I suffer with mental health issues and in the past, I never felt I found the help I wanted, I always wanted somewhere to go and be part of something. I thought we’ll start this so there is somewhere for people to go with mental health issues.

“It’s not there to be a dark kind of thing, it’s for everyone really to come along and have a chat, have a coffee and getting people together with a place to go in general.

“By me opening up and ‘embarrassing myself’ which I thought I did but it’s made others open up and I’ve had people reach out to me a lot, which I love because it’s helping others and it’s a massive stigma having mental health issues.

“I have a personality disorder which is very hard, my emotions can change up to 50 times a day which can be scary sometimes going from happy to angry, it’s a constant rollercoaster all day long. There was never anywhere for me to go so I wanted to sort something out so for people like myself could talk to others who understand and have a bit of a caring ear.”

As a thank you to Paul for all his efforts in the community, Hannafin Contractors will provide Paul with hospitality to a future Castleford Tigers match at The Mend-A-Hose Jungle, a personal video message from a Castleford player and a signed Tigers shirt.

Community Director of Castleford Tigers Foundation added: “Paul typifies the positive approach the district has had to COVD-19 – someone who is there to help others and offers a listening ear without judgement. Many are suffering from anxiety and a feeling of being overwhelmed.

“Projects like ‘Talk Tonight’ are absolutely invaluable in helping overcome those real fears. It’s a real pleasure to reward Paul for all his hard work and care for others. We’re really looking forward to welcoming him to the MAH Jungle to say thank you and well done.”

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