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 got off to a flying start in 2017/18, with all partners engaging with enthusiasm. The quality of and commitment to cross-border collaboration is noteworthy. Five two-day meetings and one three-day meeting involving all partners took place between September 2017 and September 2018 – visiting each country, and the majority of partners (often by combining sites/partner visits).
Experience and good practice from all of them was shared. These visits have inspired everyone involved, and are leading to lots of positive thinking about the next steps.
The first main section of the project aims to develop a "third generation" model of Shed, and evaluate it - and the first draft was written in a fully collaborative fashion, and is being reflected on and refined, towards its completion in 2019.
Alongside this, partners are working on the more specialised elements in WP2 - health champions, kiosk engagement, employability, and the digital tool. These elements will be taken to the next level during 2019, on the solid foundations laid in 2018.
Evaluation - not a WP in its own right in SBS - is well-integrated, and PP4 is an integral part of all discussions, and a key co-ordinator alongside the Lead Partner and the Work Package leads.
Sheds (sometimes referred to as Workshops, where the Shed term is not likely to be understood/relevant) are locally-rooted organisations aimed at providing purposeful activity alongside advice and support on health and wellbeing, promoting social interaction and increased quality of life.
As with this project, they are typically aimed at men, for whom social networks are often less evident, but not to the exclusion of women. Typically, they are self-sustaining once established, and are created and defined in response to the needs of their community.