Today I visited the weekly Pit Stop at Cromer, which is run by my colleague, Crystal. I had travelled in the company of Nick (who is the Pit Stop Coordinator for the East) and Tino, who is a student social worker on a placement with MensCraft. As ever, it was fascinating talking to the members – in fact, it was (quite literally!) magic. As we sat around the table within the lovely setting of Merchant’s Place, Pit Stop member, Andrew, demonstrated some amazing card tricks to us. I was entranced! I have no idea how the ‘tricks’ worked, and I don’t actually want to know; I’m content to just accept that it was magic.

I also enjoyed talking with Mark who, among other things, told me about his background in catering and how he manages to cook on a tight budget (definitely an crucial skill in these hard times!). Crystal observed how much progress he is making and how well he looked. Mark said that connecting within the Pit Stop is really beneficial to him – not least, as he has befriended Andrew.

When talking about the Pit Stop we use the metaphor of the car. Some of us – like me – are ‘old bangers’ with a few dents here and there… but maybe, we’re vintage models too. There’s plenty of room in a Pit Stop for younger, ‘shinier’ models (like Tino) to park alongside us. As with any motor, we sometimes need a run-out to ‘de-coke’ our engines, and we can pull into the Pit Stop to take on some fuel (hot drinks etc). We need an MOT and a valleting from time to time – but most of all we need our Pit Crew. We need to connect and look out for each other. And when we’re giving to one another, we are also giving to ourselves. All of the evidence shows that giving enhances our wellbeing and emotional resilience. We must also remember to give to ourselves; not least, by being kinder to ourselves – so remember to give yourself a break.

Just as Andrew’s card skills were mesmerising, equally so is the magic that takes place when men have a safe, positive space to grow together.

Thanks to the Cromer Pit Stop community for making us all feel so welcome!

Finally, if you or someone you know are interested in joining the Cromer Pit Stop, here are the venue and contact details:

Thursday, 10.30 to 11.30am
Merchant’s Place, Church Street, Cromer NR27 9ES

For further information, contact:

Crystal Kent (local host): crystal@menscraft.org.uk

Mobile: 07704 428872

Colin (Pit Stop Coordinator – Norwich)