This ground breaking project, Manbassadors, first ran in April 2019 and 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. Just as COVID came in March 2020, we were also taking the project to LS8, LS11 & LS12, where rates of male suicide are also very high.
The Manbassador project relies on a network of local businesses who, as the strapline says, are looking out for local men. The main aim is to reach men who struggle to connect in some way, and who could benefit from groups, activities and services advertised for men in their area.
Lawrence Glyn, Project Coordinator, says
“A good local business always gets to know its customers well and the Manbassador Project simply taps into that. Even when men may not engage with others and there can be a whole host of reasons (ill-health, depression, unemployment, family breakdown, finances…) they will still go into their local corner-shop, the chippy, the pharmacy, the gym, the pub, the barbers etc where these businesses may well note a change, however subtle, in behaviour or mood. With the support of the ‘zine and the training we offer, the businesses feel even more empowered to have a chat, offer support, direct men to the zine and signpost them to groups and services on offer near them.”
6 of the Manbassadors featured in the wonderful Street Art Project in Harehills which marked the end of that first phase of funding in April 2021.
They were all exhibited on lamp-posts so that local people could enjoy reading them and see how and why these Manbassadors are so crucial to the project’s success
“The words in each of these Manbassadors’ poems, not only speaks volumes about their genuine enthusiasm for the project, but also their desire to look out for the people in their community: in this project, that happens to be isolated men,” adds Lawrence.
“It is also lovely leading a project where our third sector community organisations are working hand-in-hand with local businesses to have greater impact. Our Social Local responsibility is to look out for those in our community who struggle to get from one day to the next and we know that the cost of living is currently on everyone’s minds. Our Manbassador Businesses help us gauge how the local community is affected, and where we can have greater impact, eg featuring articles or services for men to read.”
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 is run by the Orion Consortium, currently led by Space2 and Zest. Originally funded by Leeds City Council Public Health, then supported by Leeds Community Foundation, the National Lottery has now funded the project through to September 2023.
More information about Manbassadors can be found on Instagram – @manbassador_project or on Facebook
Contact – If you have any queries about the Manbassador Project, please contact Lawrence at email@example.com or call on 07784951813, office number 0113 320 0159