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Meet the founders of MENTalk

3rd June 2020

We’ve been working with men’s mental health group MENTalk, to help raise awareness of personal wellbeing and provide support for plumbing and heating engineers. Read on to find out more about the three Expert Trades members and founders of MENTalk; Steve Smith, Stephen Blair and Lee Woodgate.


How did MENTalk begin?

Steve: I’ve personally experienced struggles with my mental health for most of my life but things only started to get better for me when Lee, Stephen and I decided to act. We all face similar demons and wanted to come together to create something authentic and genuine.

Stephen: Statistics show that men are dying from suicide at an alarming rate, and as someone who suffers with mental health problems, I felt committed to try and make a difference by joining MENTalk.

Lee: The purpose of MENTalk is to provide a community and outlet for men to be open and honest about their feelings. This is something I needed but felt I didn’t have access to before, which is why I wanted to be involved.


How did you become a tradesperson?

Stephen: At the age of 17 I decided I wanted to become a heating engineer, so while working at a sign shop I called every plumber whose van I had provided a sign for. Most wouldn’t consider me because I had a poor school report, but luckily one plumber took a chance on me. I passed my ACS with flying colours when I was 18 and have never looked back.

Lee: I trained to become a Gas Engineer when the recession hit and every contractor at the firm I was working for as a duct fitter, became unemployed. I am proud to say that I have had my own successful business for nearly four years now.

Steve: I have always been hands on so it was an easy decision for me to choose working in a trade. I love meeting new people and gaining the trust of my repeat customers.


What’s your favourite food, film and band?

Lee: There’s something special about Christmas dinner with my family, and I’m also partial to Thai or a BBQ in the summer. My favourite film is Human Traffic, and band is Stereophonics as their music helped me through a tough period.

Stephen: One of my most loved meals is jerk chicken with rice and peas followed by ice cream. When it comes to films, I can’t decide between Forrest Gump or The Green Mile. The music of Morgan Heritage or Bob Marley always helps to lift my mood.

Steve: My favourite food is a toss-up between my partner’s Sunday roast or a BBQ. The Joker has to be my top film and I really like the band The Streets, but you can’t go wrong with a bit of the 80s.


To find out more, or to join the MENTalk community, visit Instagram and Facebook @MENTalkUK, find them on Twitter @TweetMENTalk, or sign up to all of the latest information here.