A men’s support charity has been set up in Aberystwyth.
Men2Men has partnered with Aberystwyth and The District Hospice at Home Volunteers (HAHAV) to establish weekly workshops at the ‘Living Well Centre,’ Plas Antaron.
The partnership project, which is called Big “C” Mondays, was funded by CAVO’s Caring Communities Innovation scheme.
It aims to host weekly workshops offering a variety of ‘exciting’ activities designed to reach isolated and vulnerable men, as well as men affected by illness.
Sian Dorward, HAHAV’s Executive Officer, said: “Experience and research tell us that men are harder to reach in terms of engaging with emotional support, but often benefit when they do access group activities.
“The group allows men to try a wide range of exciting activities, such as wood carving, driftwood sculpting, photography, and outdoor visits; with the aim of trying something new, whilst building support networks. The project welcomes self-referrals from men fitting the criteria, or their carers' if appropriate.”
Men2Men is run by Fred Luckman, who said: “I’ve been a therapist for 30 years, and although there have been some very good treatments out there, I and my previous colleagues felt that there was something missing by just focusing on words and talking.
“Men sometimes find it difficult to talk about how they are, who they are and what’s going on in their lives. It can be something incredibly difficult, and for some men, it can be something impossible.
“Men2Men started about two and a half years ago when we were funded by Hywel Dda Health Board to set up activities all across West Wales which would engage with isolated men.
“Over the last few years I’ve seen plenty of men coming into our men’s sheds in other parts of West Wales who were anxious about even being in a group of men. But once you start working with people, getting outdoors and doing other activities, it’s amazing how those barriers just disappeared. It often makes it easier to talk while you’re working on something with others.
“Fear is something we pick up from childhood or later on in life, and it’s that fear that is usually the barrier, so the difficult part is to get somebody here. Once they are here and start taking part in our activities, that fear quickly goes away.
The Big “C” Mondays workshops are free to join. They run every Monday from 10am and include a shared lunch, usually finishing about 3:30pm
Mr Luckman said Men2Men want to develop their programme of activities with the men who join, giving them a say in what the group will do each week.