Connect Hackney

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Engaging Men - Learning from Connect Hackney

Research into loneliness and isolation has shown that our social lives are gendered. Our relationships are shaped by societal expectations and traditional gender roles, with women often having more social connections than men.

Our gender identities also impact how we experience ageing and how we relate to voluntary and community groups, with men being less inclined to attend community projects marketed toward older people.

In 2018 Connect Hackney funded four projects for men. Each project was evaluated in order to better understand how to design projects that are attractive to men and offer them the chance to make friends and expand their social circle. Please note that this evaluation took place pre-pandemic.

What did we learn

Our evaluation showed that both the content of a project and the way that it is delivered have an effect on who gets involved. We found that men preferred flexible projects that didn’t require long term commitment, but that they also wanted purposeful activities which were goal oriented.
The evaluation looked at the role of marketing to engage men, highlighting the importance of street outreach and branding.

The full findings of our evaluation of our men’s projects can be found on pages 20-27 of our ‘How to Target Your Services’ evaluation report, available here.

Key messages from our evaluation are available here.
“It’s sort of opened me up these meetings, they’ve sort of brought myself out more you know otherwise I’d be like a cocoon here. It makes me go out I mean I wouldn’t have dreamed of going down to Cornwall on my own, that’s what I’m doing.” Participant, Men’s Project.

Event and resources

Outreach workshop
Our evaluation found that street outreach can be an effective tool for reaching men. We’re hosting a free hour-long session on how to deliver effective street outreach, including knowing who to approach, dealing with rejection and recruiting outreach staff with the right skills. The session will be delivered by Jo Stapleton, Outreach Manager at Ageing Better Camden. You will be offered the chance to either join Jo or a member of her team as they do street outreach or for a member of the team to accompany you for a street outreach session in Hackney promoting your project. 
20 September. Book your place here

Samaritans Recommendations for Engaging Men
The recent Samaritans handbook on engaging men includes specific recommendations on how to engage less well-off men in wellbeing activities. The recommendations mirror some of the findings from the Connect Hackney evaluation such as the importance of purposeful activities and the need for flexibility. The report also has interesting learning on how best to design publicity materials, including the need to clearly show the activity on offer rather than using abstract imagery. The full report is available here.

Hackney Dudes
Watch the video below to get a sense of the Hackney Dudes project which was delivered by MRS Independent Living.
Hackney Dudes video
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