Step by Step
Priority AxisTechnological and Social Innovation
Lead partnerThe Health and Europe Centre
Project budget4 356 677 €
ERDF amount2 614 006 €
Men’s health & wellbeing is suffering across the 2Seas area with high & increasing suicide/depression rates. In Kent (PP2) suicide is the highest killer of men aged under 45 and in Schilderswijk (PP6) depression is at 21% of the male population. Men visit their GP on average 20% less than women and delay seeking medical help indicating a level of social exclusion or inertia. Preparation work has highlighted:
- a demand for community based activities to improve health and wellbeing and reduce vulnerability
- a need to address social cohesion by intergenerational skills transfer to bring more people into the labour market (male unemployment in Wattrelos is 25.2% and the French unemployment rate nationally is 10%). http://ec.europa.eu/health/population_groups/docs/men_health_leaflet_en.pdf.
World Economic Forum research indicates that areas with higher employment tend to have lower suicide rates.
Step by Step (SBS) will empower men to move from poor health &/or isolation to healthy social participation or active engagement in the labour market. It will use PP12s participation ladder to measure personal development (see the 'visualisation of the project logic' section for more details). It will promote a culture in which all citizens in all regions will have the confidence to make sustainable positive changes in their lives benefitting themselves & society. Expected changes: reduced health costs related to physical & mental health issues; better health contributing to healthier individuals, families, communities & workforce; increased labour market activity; decreased number of work days lost to poor health.
The target group for SBS is specifically men and in particular those who may be socially isolated and suffering from poor mental health or poor wellbeing. However the project will also be open to women who will be very welcome to use the new SBS services.
- A model to improve men’s mental & physical health/wellbeing via a community space/workshop where men meet/learn new skills/engage in hands on activities 94 new workshops implementing the model.
- New model of community health service delivery for men & vulnerable groups.
- A gaming-based virtual tool to connect people and indirectly raise their awareness of their physical/mental health and wellbeing. This tool will take the learning from the experience of Pokemon Go (where an unexpected side-benefit of the game was that players increased the amount they walked, with unforeseen consequential health benefits http://bit.ly/2a5Wobb). SBS will create something similar; our research has shown men do not like talking directly about their health/unemployment but enjoy doing things & being competitive.
- Training programme to create champions for health & wellbeing from within the workshop attendees
- Training programme for soft skills (motivational interviewing, empowerment etc)
Cross border approach
Health & wellbeing services targeting men in the 2Seas region are not accessible by all in their current format e.g. Wattrelos is located in an area nationally recognized as having few psychiatric services. To generate long-term sustainable change, services need to be embedded within their communities. SBS partners bring together the necessary expertise to develop & test a model which will do this: PP2 has experience of the Men’s Shed programme tackling mental health (http://bit.ly/1V188vv). PP3 have experience with a community health champions programme to tackle physical health. FR & NL partners have relevant community outreach experience addressing social isolation & upskilling. SBS will create a new model providing mental health, physical health, participation & employability services in one setting, building on PP12s participation ladder. The individual elements have all been implemented successfully; SBS brings this expertise together to benefit an under-served target group.
SBS has continued very strongly in 2019, with ongoing positive collaboration and enthusiam.
Two two-day meetings were held (including Steering Groups), and one further one-day meeting, all involving all PPs.
The "third generation" model of Sheds was finalised in the summer, and is being used by all delivery partners to roll out more Sheds (and being retrospectively updated in existing Sheds, who had been using the first draft). Whilst it has been finalised to delivery O1.1, it will be kept under review, and a legacy version will be published at the end of the project, taking into account comments from evaluation partners PP4, who remain constant companions on our SBS journey.
The models relating to health (O2.1) and employment (O5.1) continue to be developed, and the supporting O4.1 Health Champions programme (of training) was completed on schedule early in the year.
Work is almost complete on a digital tool - O6.1 - which will support the health and employment dimensions, and connect users. It will be finalised early in 2020, with demo versions already having been examined by partners.
Other highlights mentioned by one or more partners include:
- appointing relevant experts to assist with setting up Sheds and engaging with the target groups;
- extending the network of stakeholders;
- producing a new website (PP3 - mensactivity.net) and a social media campaign to engage local men with the project;
- promotion at national and international events and festivals, generating more interest
Please note that as PP10 had a structural/legal entity change in 2019, it became PP11. Where possible, this report refers to whichever entity was active at that time, but as the work and staffing on SBS was not affected by the change, it has not always been possible to draw a clean line where one started and the other stopped (other than for the purposes of financial claims) so references to PP10 or PP11 may occasionally be interchangable.