Menhear and COVID-19
Like so many community organisations, Menhear has had to adapt our service because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Before the pandemic struck, Menhear held a men's support group in the Preston area. When social distancing guidelines and restrictions were introduced, we were forced to embrace technology and move our sessions online.
Men's support group Preston area
When we started the group sessions, we didn't know what to expect, but what we have learnt has enforced our belief that we are making a positive impact on peoples’ lives. The meetings offered a one to one mentoring service and group sharing sessions, and the positive impact of those sessions reported by our members has been incredibly encouraging. Not content with weekly physical meetings, the Menhear support group took on an extra form with a member-led What's app group chat, in which members offer one another support and advice any time of the day or night.
Above all else, in its most basic form, the men's support group has given people who might have been socially withdrawn a chance to socialise in a neutral and safe environment.
Relying on donations to run a men's support group is hard at the best of times, but when the pandemic struck and the lockdown was implemented, we feared the worst and had to adapt. Through fear of losing contact with our members, we quickly decided to purchase a Zoom subscription to move our sessions online. Bi-weekly meetings began shortly after lock-down was introduced and acted as a much-needed safety net in uncertain times.
The online sessions are still taking place and have been a challenging but positive experience for all those involved.
Menhear CIC F.C.
One of the things lock-down highlighted was how easy it is to become isolated and how hard it is to re-engage once you have become isolated. As restrictions began to ease, we saw the foundation of Menhear F.C. A football team with a twist. Our focus is on building community rather than sporting ability, and the early days of the football team have brought a large number of people together that otherwise might have been socially withdrawn or spending their time in less constructive ways. We might not be winning many games any time soon, but we are winning the battle against isolation.
For the time being at least, we're allowed to hold physical support groups again and we have been kindly donated space by Project Fit Preston that is more suitable for our needs. The men's support groups are taking place from 2 pm every Saturday at the Community & Wellbeing Centre, Unit 6, Oland we've welcomed new members and welcomed back old ones.