Our ground breaking project, Manbassadors, is reaching out to isolated men to support their mental health with a simple intervention of bite size support on a very local level to tackle high rates of male suicide in Leeds 9.
Led by Feel Good Factor, the Manbassador project is a growing network of local businesses acting as men’s health advocates in East Leeds, supporting isolated men who they come across on a regular basis.
Damian Dawtry, Project Manager says: “It’s simple. We make ourselves known to local business owners including gyms, chemists, barbers, bookies, pubs, corner shops, and recruit them as our Manbassadors. We provide them with information targeted at men about social activities, places to go, health and leisure, people to talk to – and when that Manbassador identifies a customer who could be isolated or lonely, or at risk of becoming isolated or lonely, they can give them a leaflet containing simple signposting information.”
So far twenty local businesses have signed up as Manbassadors. The leaflets provided to Manbassadors are updated regularly and will feature vouchers for that extra encouraging ‘push’ towards taking part in local activities at a reduced cost. Basic training is also offered to Manbassadors with the aim of helping them to be better equipped to support the project into the future.
Damian continues, “There are many men who are not receiving the support they need and we hope that this is one way that we can reach them and start making a positive impact on the terrible rate of male suicides in Leeds. What we’ve noticed, when liaising with local businesses, is their enthusiasm for taking part in this project, and we hope that’s because it is so simple. Manbassadors are not required to take time away from their business to attend courses, or take on any responsibility further than sharing information as a result of a day to day interaction with a valued customer. Some Manbassadors already undertake a role similar to this anyway and are glad to have information to hand to pass on to vulnerable men.
We see this project as ground level community work. Our relationship with our Manbassadors is key. We don’t want to be an added burden to their already very busy lives, or overwhelm them with information, but we have found by checking in regularly, being available for any questions, tailoring what we offer them in response to what they tell us, and providing that important information in leaflet form seems to be working for everyone. Isn’t it true that the most simple solution is often the most effective?”
This partnership project with Space 2 and Zest, who are members of the Orion Partnership along with Feel Good Factor, is being funded by Leeds City Council Public Health department and supported by Leeds Community Foundation and will continue for the remainder of 2019. The ultimate aim is to roll out this low level, localised intervention across the city to support vulnerable men who need it.
Follow Manbassadors on instagram @manbassador_project
Contact - If you have any queries about Manbassadors please contact Damian Dawtry, Feel Good Factor Project Manager by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0113 350 4200.