This Mid Sussex board game group is helping people with mental health problems

Mid Sussex Meeples
Mid Sussex Meeples

A board game group in Mid Sussex is one of a growing number in the area, and it's having a positive impact on people's mental health.

The group, called Mid Sussex Meeeples, started in 2017 and now has 20 to 30 regular members, ranging from 10 to 70+.

Mid Sussex Meeples

Mid Sussex Meeples

Paul Lamprey, a 40 year old bus driver from Burgess Hill, first developed an interest in board games three years ago after being diagnosed with depression and anxiety.

He came across Wil Wheaton's Tabletop games series on YouTube, where he plays games with friends, and eventually plucked up the courage to attend an event at Battlequest Games in Horsham.

He said: "One Saturday morning, I arrived at 10am not knowing what to expect but was greeted by the owner of the shop who I had spoken to before, who then introduced me to some regular attendees who invited me to join a game they were about to start.

"After an explanation of the rules we continued the game. Once complete we finished roughly the same time as another group, we swapped players around slightly and went again with a different game, and this continued for rest of the day.

Mid Sussex Meeples

Mid Sussex Meeples

"I even nearly forgot to eat lunch as we were playing as I got so engrossed in the games but before I knew it, tables were starting to be packed away and chairs stacked up as it was approaching 6pm.

"We finished, packed up, I said my goodbyes to my newly acquired acquaintances and headed home.

"I drove home on the highest of highs, my wife, on my return was bombarded by tales from the day and she immediately noticed an improvement in my outlook. That high lasted for a long while."

Mr Lamprey attended a different event at Dungeon Crawl'ey in Crawley, seeing many people he had met in Horsham, and enjoyed the event just as much as he did previously.

Mid Sussex Meeples

Mid Sussex Meeples

He said: "It helped my mental health so much, and it's great to see people coming who may have problems of their own, but they can forget about them and connect with others for a few hours over a game."

He found weekly groups in Crawley and Horsham, and began to attend, however after six months of weekly meet-ups he decided to start his own group in Burgess Hill.

They recently attended Horsham Gaming Festival with other local groups, and the Press Start 2 Join events, bringing some analogue gaming to their video and retro gaming event.

Mr Lamprey said: "It's great to see people connecting across generations.

"Two people came to an event and later came back with their grandchildren, and some of our regular members will sit down with older visitors and teach them games - some people worry they won't be able to learn or that there are too many rules but they always end up enjoying themselves."

Events run from 10am to 6pm and cost £5 per person, all day.

To find out more, visit their website here.