Creating my own social enterprise – this could be the best thing I’ve ever done

(Well possibly apart from being on Blockbusters when I was 17 .)

My day job is a freelance consultant and trainer www,barkerandwoodardconsulting.co.uk working with voluntary & community organisations and I enjoy hugely. I’ve got to work with some brilliant people, great organisations and developed some really interesting pieces of work.

However, I’ve always loved the process of developing new services and the excitement of change. Back in 2004/5 when I was running a healthy living centre for older people in Camden, it was apparent there was a huge gap between the mortality rates of men and women. Services especially lower level day opportunities services were very much dominated by older women, not surprising given the demographics. Consequently the numbers of older men using them were very low. Looking at this we decided to set up a project for older men that met in pubs where they could socialise and each week there was a different speaker talking about wellbeing issues.

Jump forward a few years and I did some research for a client on social isolation in London and was struck again by how few projects there still were for older men.

I also have a huge passion for sport. I grew up watching cricket, athletics, tennis, the olympics, rugby and have always found that watching sport with other people is a hugely life enhancing experience. It fuels emotion in me like nothing else and no I’m not embarrassed that I burst into tears when I first saw the Olympic Park or when we won the Ashes in 2005 or the RWC in 2003.

So with that in mind, I am setting up ManAGEing Through Sport, a social enterprise looking to bring groups of older men together through watching sport collectively either live or in pubs and sports clubs.

Its in very early stages with myself and a few like minded people meeting to discuss it further. I’ve also had very helpful and positive discussions with @menshealthforum and @oldermenshealth. I’m extremely excited for it and now looking for start up funding.

I’m hoping this will be the start of something brilliant and new for older men – and I have to say for me as well!

 

 

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