A groundbreaking project.
Our ground breaking project, Manbassadors, reached 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.
In April 2020 our Manbassadors Project extended its reach to encompass women, as well as men, who are in risk of self harm or suicide due to isolation during Lockdown and and brought useful information and ideas to our target group via our UnLocked ‘zine.
More about Manbassadors…
Led by Feel Good Factor, the Manbassador project was a network of local businesses acting as men’s health advocates in East Leeds, supporting isolated men who they came 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.”
The local businesses who signed up as Manbassadors received leaflets which were regularly updated featuring information about groups and activities and vouchers for that extra encouraging push towards taking part in local activities at a reduced cost. Basic training was 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.”
This project represented truly ground level community work. Our relationship with our Manbassadors was key. We didn’t want to be an added burden to their already very busy lives, or overwhelm them with information, but we found that by checking in regularly, being available for any questions, tailoring what we offered them in response to what they told us, and providing that important information in leaflet form seemed to work for everyone. Isn’t it true that the most simple solution is often the most effective?”
This project partnered with Space 2 and Zest, who are members of the Orion Partnership along with Feel Good Factor, and was funded by Leeds City Council Public Health department and supported by Leeds Community Foundation and finished in Spring 2021, with a wonderful exhibition on lamposts through Harehills showing quotes and images of our Manbassadors.
The ultimate aim remains to roll out this low level, localised intervention across Leeds to support vulnerable men who need it.
There is some more information about Manbassadors on instagram – @manbassador_project
Contact – If you have any queries about Manbassadors please contact Feel Good Factor Project firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0113 350 4200.
Image by Tim Goedhart on Unsplash