Cloth Cat will be running music and digital art classes for the benefit of men who are dealing with low mood. Please get in touch if you would like to be involved in the classes or know someone who would.
Local music charity Cloth Cat is launching Man About Town, a unique project in Leeds, funded by Leeds Community Foundation, which aims to reduce social isolation for men in South Leeds. The Leeds suicide audit published in 2016 found that men are almost five times more likely to end their own life than women which is higher than the national average of three to one. There will be a launch event of the project on Saturday 30th November from noon until 2.30pm at Slung Low based at The Holbeck Social Club in Leeds 11, before Leeds United’s home match against Middlesbrough, and where people can find out more about what’s on offer through our projects as well.
Man About Town aims to inspire and encourage men who may be socially isolated and at risk of suicide to engage back in to the wider community through a series of creative, practical and fun sessions including both music and the digital arts, to be run at Old Chapel Studios from December. Cloth Cat, who are spearheading the project, have been running music based projects and events over the past 20 years for those who are most vulnerable living within the city, to develop new avenues for people bank in to education, employment and positive social activity so that they are able to lead happier lives.
Project Co-ordinator, Shelly Johnson said: “The idea came after talking to Jonathan Parker at Creative Frame, a Leeds based arts project focussing on creativity and mental wellbeing, and joint work in the mental health sector, and how music and the arts could support men who are isolated. I keep saying that if we had a pound for every man who had said that music had saved their lives then we would be very rich! We have found that it is something that can have a profound positive influence on their lives”
Anyone interested in finding out more about the project should contact Shelly Johnson at Cloth Cat on 0113-244-2773 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Their website can be found at www.clothcatleeds.org.uk
The Man about Town project set out to engage men in music and digital art activities across the south of Leeds. Early on in the project we identified two primary locations to deliver our sessions and set about establishing links and working out a diary for delivery. Following a recruitment session where we took photographs and documented the experience of the men in attendance we used this information to begin a marketing campaign on facebook and printed flyers. The flyers where distributed in key areas (Pharmacies, Supermarkets, Community Centres etc) in the areas of LS9, LS10, LS11, LS12 and LS13.
We had interest in the project immediately and this gave us the opportunity to book an initial run of music sessions at the Old Chapel Music Studios in Holbeck. Over the coming weeks our group, aided by two workshop leaders set about writing original music and lyrics and performing together as a band. The sessions where deliberately set out in an informal way to allow the participation of new members as we went along. It quickly became evident that we were retaining the same people week in, week out but also bringing in new people as the sessions developed. We had participants here about us as a result of the facebook and printed flyer marketing but also as referrals from Linked in Leeds and Leeds Mind.
In addition to the music sessions we have been concurrently running virtual reality sessions at Slung Low in Holbeck. We have been given access to the huge function room which has enabled our participants to use the full room space as a Virtual Reality playground, able to express themselves through 360 degree painting applications, sporting activities which really gave us a work out! also problem solving applications and meditation. The virtual reality sessions have appealed to other mens groups in the south of Leeds and we have been able to run sessions at Armley Helping Hands, Leeds Mens Network and Bramley Community Centre.
To date we have worked alongside 37 men who have experienced difficulties as a result of isolation, break down in relationships and worklessness. We have received testimony that as result of our sessions members have opted to change their routine, which revolves heavily around spending time at home and pubs, deciding instead to spend their time either looking for work, doing work (i.e jobs around the house). One member has started a new job since joining the group.
We’ve had the regular assistance of one volunteer and one project ambassador. The fund has paid for 2 sessional workers and enabled the Cloth Cat administrator to oversee the project.
We expect to surpass our initial target of working with 50 men to around 60 by the end of the project.