‘Working with Men’ was the first of the Time to Learn sessions (previously known as Learning Lunches) to go fully public, and was well attended. Thanks to Gareth from the Great Outdoors project that hosted us and provided cake.
There were people there from a cross-section of organisations, including neighbourhood networks and the Local Authority, as well as Time to Shine Projects, so we were able to consider a really good range of actions and options, and there was a lot of useful networking. Some participants wanted to share successes, others wanted good places to refer men on to.
The session started with a look at the local research on the Time to Shine funded projects which aimed to involve men, in the first funding round. These included Cara – who worked with older Irish men in a culture specific context; Digital Angels; Your Warehouse who offered volunteering opportunities that men might identify with; the Late Breakfast Club, and More than a Mealtime (apparently the old adage ‘The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’ does hold true!).
It was great that we also had some of the team who deliver Bramley Elderly Action’s Men’s Day, which gave everyone an opportunity to pick their brains too.
We also looked at projects and research from across the country, and the world – with information from Men in Sheds in Australia, where it began, and Scotland where they have commissioned some excellent evaluation.
There was also some great non-shed based stuff from the Baring Foundation about Men and culture.
Common denominators seemed to be
- positive marketing – sell men the chance to help, and not to be helped
- the use of men-friendly spaces
- the offer of a specific activity to join – not just the chance to chat
- lots of persistence – BEA said it had taken a long time to really get going but now they have a range of activities suggested by members each week.
Next Time to Learn session:
How well do small groups work?
Wednesday 1 May, 2.00pm – 4.00pm
Book your FREE place
It cropped up at the network meeting in March that more than one project had been using small groups with a good degree of success, especially for those whose anxiety was a barrier to them going straight into a larger social group. There was quite a bit of interest from those in the room, and I thought it was worth throwing it open to everyone interested in shared learning.
Time to Shine Learning Facilitator