A COLLABORATION TO KEEP MEN SOCIALLY CONNECTED
In 2015 the Movember Foundation put a call out for innovative ideas that would tackle men's health issues resulting from a lack of social connectedness. The Social Innovators Challenge (SIC) has 6 funded projects across the UK, Canada and Australia which are piloting and scaling their ideas. Two of the UK projects - Men’s Pie Club (Newcastle upon Tyne, England) and The Changing Room (Scotland), found a great opportunity during COVID lockdown to join forces.
Men’s Pie Club by Food Nation CIC
Men’s Pie Club has been launched in Newcastle by local social enterprise Food Nation CIC and is about ‘local guys, making pies’. Men's Pie Club brings men together - on a weekly basis at community venues across the North East. Men meet up, make pastry, pie fillings (and ultimately pies) then sit and eat together.
It's an opportunity to socialise with other guys, make new mates and increase social connections. All of which is tackling issues associated with social isolation and reduces the likelihood of poor mental health and men’s suicide rates.
As a result of COVID social restrictions, the Men's Pie Club groups could no longer meet up in person - so a doorstep pie delivery and check-in took place.
The Changing Room by SAMH
SAMH is the Scottish Association for Mental Health, and The Changing Room is all about using the power of football to bring men together to tackle their mental health and wellbeing. Men in their middle years can take part in a 12-week course that enables them to increase social connectedness, reduce loneliness and isolation and ultimately helps them to better manage their own mental health. Connecting over a shared love of their football team, men are able to engage in meaningful conversations about football, health, family and what matters to them.
Normally based in the football stadium of their club, men can talk openly and at a pace that suits them, while being able to support one another. Throughout COVID restrictions, The Changing Room had been offering twice weekly video calls to substitute for face-to-face meetings and found that the calls got the biggest response when there was a ‘special’ on offer.
Whilst lockdown hit hard up and down the UK due to the COVID pandemic, the teams at two of the Movember SIC projects found a perfect opportunity to blend the projects with new virtual events.
HOW IT HAPPENED AND HOW IT WENT
With a previous foray into group cooking during The Changing Room’s 12 Week Program, keen cook Dougie took the opportunity to reach out to the Men’s Pie Club to ask for tips and ideas on tackling some pie making.
At this point, Jamie and Joanna at Food Nation jumped at the chance to set-up a winner for Dougie, Pher and their groups through making Men’s Pie Club mobile.
1. The Men’s Pie Club team, picked a recipe from the collection, set out a shopping list and instructions for the guys at The Changing Room and put together recipe tutorials for the guys in Scotland to follow for Perfect Shortcrust Pie Pastry & Chicken Pie
2. Now bolstered with help from international players there was, as hoped, keen interest from The Changing Room guys. After shopping, chopping, boxing and delivering was organised, the 'Say, aye, tae a pie' special soon zoomed over the horizon.
3. Although there were some experienced cooks involved, there were also some excellent pie making debuts and resounding feedback that it had been a great diversion, a tasty reward and definitely something to do again.
TEAM PIE CLUB @ THE CHANGING ROOM
“I thought it was great it kept my mind concentrating on something other than what was upsetting me in the first place”
“I really enjoyed it, great fun and chat.”
“Loved it mate.The pies were really tasty too.”
“I thought it was something fun to try that I normally wouldn't do and it was good to see other people's creations and it got people chatting”
“Thank you for the encouragement. I can't believe the sense of self-satisfaction I got on completing that. And the fact it was really nice. Couldn't believe I had made that. Hehehe.”
“Hi just to say I got CG my other daughter saying aye tae the pie too it's her 1st time as well. Spreading the news - will send a picture in a minute. She done it all herself I only watched.”
The M.P.C. team were thrilled to see great comments and pictures come through from the Scot's Pie Making successes. It seems that there is a great appetite from the guys at The Changing Room to have more cooking and food experiences integrated into some of the sessions over the coming months whilst food themed meet ups have consistently proved to be a winner!
A message from Men’s Pie Club
“It’s always good to share a pie and some foodie know-how with anyone, so our Men’s Pie Club team were super excited and keen to share our club with the guys up at The Changing Room. Collaborations with like-minded organisations just shows how food can bring people together absolutely anywhere – and what a great opportunity to bring together the 2 project teams too. Always a pleasure to work with our Movember SIC family whenever possible!”
Joanna Lacey, Men’s Pie Club Project Manager at Food Nation CIC
A message from The Changing Room
“Bringing Men’s Pie Club and The Changing Room together was an inspired idea! Sharing food together is one of the very best ways of connecting. For our guys at The Changing Room, this collaboration with Men’s Pie Club allowed them to develop new skills, share food and banter together virtually, as well as having important conversations about their mental health. It was great to work so closely with Men’s Pie Club, and as ever, we’re thankful for Movember for bringing us all together!
Christopher Nicolson, Programme & Development Manager at SAMH
A message from Movember
“A global knowledge sharing community is a cornerstone of the SIC program as it provides opportunities to share learnings and experiences with others. We are thrilled that Men’s Pie Club and The Changing Room found a unique way during challenging times to bring their guys together to build new connections and hopefully lasting friendships while sharing a meal. Both programs are led by terrific and passionate teams. How about giving them a go yourself?”
Ivy Lim-Carter, Director, Social Innovations, Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Program at Movember