When men at our Campbelltown Life Skills Group were hard to engage during the program’s regular activities on Mondays, Northcott’s Centre Based Coordinator Kerry Vivar decided to take matters into her own hands.
With some ideas from participants, Kerry developed a speciality Men’s Group offering activities more suited to men’s interests.
“We decided to start the Men’s Group because the men were hard to engage on Mondays. Even though we don’t run particular activities on Mondays as part of our Life Skills program, the women have certain things that they are happy to do but the men always need something different,” explains Kerry.
Kerry found that the structured activities run by the Life Skills Group on other days of the week, such as cooking on Tuesdays and going out in the community on Thursdays, were appealing to all customers. Mondays, however, which run to a less structured program, didn’t necessarily offer appealing activities for men.
“Now we try to do things that interest men, such as woodwork, kicking a ball or playing basketball, going out for lunch or going to Bunnings. We find that men seem to like to do things together and be outside more,” she says. The customers have responded enthusiastically and are now rarely bored or disinterested in the activities.
The new Men’s Group is flexible and unstructured in order to cater to how the customers are feeling on the day. Kerry also tries to incorporate some ‘group chat’ time when everyone comes together to talk about topics such as health or hygiene.
“We try to get the men to talk about appropriate things. Hygiene and not wanting to shower, for instance, are issues we hear about through parents and carers. During our Men’s Group chats, staff encourage customers to set small week-to-week goals like grooming and we’ve have seen clean shaven men come in the next day!”
The group, which has been running for just a few months, has a small number enthusiastic customers aged between 19 and their mid-40s, who all enjoy the wide variety of activities.
“Everyone gets on and is happy to spend time together. Our customer Tristan recently made a table. He’s extremely proud of himself. I think he feels like he’s really achieved something. One of our support workers is an electrician so he showed the participants how to prepare a light and safely change a light bulb.”
Kerry says some new activities are planned for summer and she hopes to attract a few more customers to the Monday Men’s Group and throughout the week.
Contact us on 1800 818 286 if you would like more information about the Campbelltown Men’s Group and Life Skills Program.