Grandfather, Dad, Brother, Son.
MensCraft’s work is rooted in, by and for men and their communities.
The Men's CentreInclusive and welcoming of all men. We aim to provide “activities, identity and meaning” for men and boys. The commitment and enthusiasm of volunteers and professionals to date has been inspiring.
The changing role of men is well documented. Men are defined by what they do. Often many men do not have as positive, as lasting and as meaningful social connections needed when things get tough. Men tend to be affected by the indirect consequences of enforced under- employment and significant life events like relationship changes, fatherhood and transitional periods leading to substantial negative effects that impact on their wellbeing. This often leads to poor physical and mental health and poor recovery from illness. Men are more likely to ‘act out’ e.g. excessive laddish banter, misuse drugs, drink too much, abuse, aggravate. This means that their problems can be overlooked or misdiagnosed. For example low level depression, Many men do minimal physical activity and have a poor diet. Men have more severe chronic conditions, higher death rates for all 15 leading causes of death, and die on average 7 years younger than women, are twice as likely to be referred to mental health services, are 4 times more likely than women to commit suicide, and typically men do not access mainstream health, community information & advice services for support.
Healthier and happier men make for better brothers, colleagues, partners, fathers, sons. Our vision is to enable men and boys to explore and develop positive masculinity, increase their self-worth and motivation, improve their communication and social skills and create stronger, respectful and supportive relationships. Positive masculinity encourages men and boys to feel good about being male and supports gender equality.
Based in Norwich, Menscraft is a small Community Interest Company founded in 2007, that aims to provide ‘activity, identity and meaning’ via a range of different programmes for men and boys as well as keep the conversations going – both those that in the news and those themes that are enduring. We are not seeking exclusivity. Some of our most engaging activities have been on topics such as what it means for a single mother to raise a boy / young man. Our activities have been shaped with the input and data provided by a range of organisations including the local 4Women centre.
The Men’s Shed
We have had measurable success. Probably our most significant achievement to date was to set up a Men’s Shed in the centre of Norwich. The Shed is very successfully run by a volunteer committee and is Charitable Company in its own right. However, the experience of developing The Shed along with running a mentoring programme for boys moving into adulthood (Journey into Manhood) and a Caring Dads programme (a change programme for men at risk of perpetrating domestic abuse) have positively shaped our thinking.
From our direct experience, from the research and from the what our network have told us, we have identified a significant need for a wider programme of activities and support to assist local men with identity, purpose and meaning. In response we have identified the need and potential to build an expanded range of services, activities and opportunities.
In addition, significant support for and interest in Menscraft and the need for its services has been shown by a wide range of relevant organisations spanning the mental health, education, health, housing, disability, older people, employment and offending sectors.
This support and interest has been established through formal and informal consultation over the past 18 months by the Menscraft management board and also through formal referrals from 28 local organisations that work with vulnerable and disadvantaged men. We have also conducted wider research into good practice models of achieving wellbeing and positive functioning in men.
We will apply Ballinger’s ‘Fields of Wellbeing’ model to facilitate pathways through an integrated theory of change leading to improved wellbeing and positive impact on others e.g. families & the interplay between economic, personal, cultural & social factors.
We seek your support and engagement to help us shape a vibrant Men’s Centre – the first in the UK.
We seek your support and engagement to help us shape a vibrant Men’s Centre – the first in the UK. We are looking for individuals and organisations deliver much of what is offered. We are building a team of Associates to do this.
For more information contact us firstname.lastname@example.org
News & Events
Getting involved with ‘Creative Matters’ at the Theatre Royal, MensCraft workshops about Masculinity and men’s mental health In January, the Theatre Royal’s Creative Matters programme focuses on men’s mental health. As part of this, Andy Wood and theatre director...
As you can see we've been working on a new logo and a new website, unifying the look and feel of what we do and making it easier for you to follow developments and find out what we're doing in your community. You can call back to the blog and check out what events we...
Historic coalition of over 50 leading men’s issues advocates launches ahead of International Men’s Day - 15th November 2017 www.menandboyscoalition.org.uk | twitter @MBCoalition Over 50 of the UK’s leading charities, academics, journalists and campaigners have come...
Our NetworkMenscraft has extensive local networks and established partners in place which we will use to assist us in delivering this project.
The Pitt Stop
The Pitt Stop is both an online resource to support the wellbeing of all men who want to make positive changes, and a place to give a face-to-face connection around shared passions, interests and activities.
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Norwich Men's Shed
We share a building and work well with the MENSHED
We are developing ways in which we provide advice on information helpful to men as well as signposting onto other services.
Men are facing huge changes in their roles in the world. We are developing programmes dealing with times of transition and challenges like separation, bereavement, loss, retirement.
Contact us for more information.
We are developing a range of programmes on fatherhood and parenting; and also Pre-natal, Early Years, Non-resident & Young Fathers.
We also offer a specialist Caring Dads programme.
We are developing programmes for mentoring young men and their transition into adulthood: Contact us for more information.
Our work is with men, who might not initially seem like a disadvantaged group in society. However, 76% of suicides are completed by men; 87% of rough sleepers are men and 34% of employed men feel constantly stressed and under pressure. Loneliness is often associated with old age but a recent report by CALM, The Campaign Against Living Miserably, suggests that loneliness becomes a big issue for men from the age of 35. This, in turn, can lead to issues such as depression, which contributes to the fact that everyday 13 men in the UK take their own lives. These are the issues faced by men and which increased social interaction can change.
Men are facing huge changes in their roles in the world. The status as ‘bread winner’ is, rightfully, changing. Sometimes, positive moves in society can mean that people take a while to catch up psychologically, which is something else MensCraft and the Pitt Stop project are looking to address. If men in Norwich are isolated and struggling, we want the Pitt Stop to put an end to a culture of others saying ‘man up’. Being a strong man will be re-defined to mean supporting family, friends, colleagues and strangers. It will be about being emotionally open. It will be about taking a Pitt Stop. Happier, healthier men are likely to make better mates, partners, colleagues, brothers and sons.
Therapeutic interventions – planned sessions include:
- Building resilience & self-compassion,
- Addressing problematic behaviours;
- Developing friendship – positive relationships & meaningful social connections;
- Skillful communication;
- Working with shame;
For more information contact email@example.com
Our programmes, seminars and resources are designed to support boys to successfully make a safe, healthy transition from children to young adults, with a particular focus on creating coming of age Rites of Passage and mentoring.
Contact us for more information.
Support Groups for carers, bereavement, veterans, recovery groups; A number of groups run at the centre including for those in recovery.
Contact us for more information.
Well-managed conflict can be constructive, helping to ‘clear the air’, releasing emotion and stress, and resolving tension, especially if those involved use it as an opportunity to increase understanding and find a way forward together out of the conflict situation.
Contact us for more information.
The Caring Dads programme
The Caring Dads Programme is an internationally accredited intervention for men who have been physically or emotionally abusive towards their children, their partners, or their children’s mothers. Not all of the men referred to the programme have convictions for domestic abuse/violence, but all have come to the attention of statutory authorities for negative behaviour within their families.
The primary purpose of the Caring Dads Programme is to improve the parenting skills of the fathers who attend. The intervention raises their awareness of abusive, ‘parent centred’ parenting practices and advances alternative, ‘child-centred’ strategies. The fathers learn to identify and replace shaming, intimidating and violent ways of relating to their children with fathering techniques that put the needs of their children first. The fathers are given information to help them recognise those needs and how they are expressed by children of different ages. We discuss how these needs change as their children grow-up, and suggest ways to adapt their fathering strategies so that they are appropriate for their children at every age and stage of their development. We spend considerable time with the fathers discussing ways of communicating with their children, ways of playing and spending time with them, and of setting boundaries and disciplining them without resorting to angry outbursts of shouting; shaming, humiliating or intimidating their children; or resorting to physical violence.
In addition to improving the men’s fathering skills, the programme directly addresses the abusive behaviour of the men. Caring Dads is unique because it sits at the intersection of domestic abuse/violence perpetrators’ programmes and parenting programmes. The men who attend are expected to acknowledge and take responsibility for their abusive parenting. We spend considerable time discussing the thoughts, feelings and actions that have lead to their abuse and suggesting ways in which men can work to change them.
In addition to thinking about their children, the men have to reflect on the impact of the maltreatment and abuse of their wives or partners upon their children. We discuss concrete ways for improving not only their relationships with their children but also with their children’s mothers or caretaking-mothers.
The Caring Dads Programme consist of eighteen weekly meetings, each two hours long, and led by two or three facilitators. The team of facilitators always includes a mix of men and women. Between eight and twelve men are admitted to the programme. The groups are run as facilitated, interactive discussions and the men are expected to participate fully them. The groups emphasise strengths-based learning. The facilitators seek to build on the parenting strengths the men already possess and discussions focus on brainstorming and problem-solving solutions to their fathering challenges. The discussions identify, and continually return to, the concrete changes the men can implement with their children and/or their wives or partners.
The groups make extensive use of video clips and role-play scenarios that effectively identify negative parenting strategies and facilitate the ‘role-modelling’ and learning of positive, child-centred alternatives.
In addition, to the group work, the men are given weekly homework. The assignments complement the discussions. They consist of focussed, concrete exercises that the men are expected to implement at home with their children and/or their wives or partners. In addition, the men are expected to keep a journal in which they record their successes or continuing challenges each week.
For further information on the Caring Dads Programme, please contact Mark Bond-Webster on 07817 570 471 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nurture by the power of nature connection!
MensCraft runs several different types of activities and events out in nature at various beautiful and remote locations.
A Vision Quest experience enables participants to seek guidance and insight from the natural world, always our mirror if we choose to open ourselves to this teaching.
A Men’s Lodge offers the opportunity to share and explore common issues and concerns around an open fire; to participate in Council and a sweat lodge. Hearing and exploring the meaning of ancient myths and legends is another method we use to help us make sense of our personal and collective journeys through life as men.
Manifest provides a longer retreat into nature: camping for several days these events combine the methods of personal and group exploration described above.
Contact us for more information.
Getting involved with ‘Creative Matters’ at the Theatre Royal
MensCraft workshops about Masculinity and men’s mental health
In January, the Theatre Royal’s Creative Matters programme focuses on men’s mental health. As part of this, Andy Wood and theatre director Thomas Bailey will be running a series of workshops themed on the impact of masculinity on men’s mental well-being.
We are currently recruiting men who would like to be involved. You do not need to have experience or skill in drama. More importantly, we need men willing to draw on personal experiences, your own and those of other men in our lives, for the material to create a presentation/performance that will be show cased.
As in our previous theatre projects, we will use drama and theatre techniques and processes to explore how we are influenced and shaped by cultural norms about how a man ‘should be’, and the effect this has on our well-being – both in terms of how such notions can contribute to ill health and of how we respond, whether or not we seek help.
The workshops will be day-long, on three consecutive Sundays in January: 7th, 14th and 21st and the show case will be on Thursday 25th January. In the evening of Monday 11th December we are holding introductory session to explain the process and do some initial groundwork with the group.
If you are interested in being part of this project please contact Andy straight away by emailing to email@example.com. Or if you’d like to have a chat about it then give me a call 07584 253 441 or 01263 732369. If you’re interested but can’t be available, do let me know, as there may be other opportunities for you to participate in similar projects in the future.