Central Co-op Men’s Voices event

On November the 14th 2023, I participated in Central Co-op’s Men’s Voices Event. This event was about giving men an opportunity to talk and take part in activities that affect them.

During the event I facilitated a workshop on the issue of Men’s health. In this workshop we talked about issues that concerned us and that we did not always feel comfortable talking about. Work burnout and injuries preventing us from playing sport were common problems for those taking part, as well as not being able to talk to those around us when we have emotional problems.  Having a space where it was safe for us to share our trauma and be vulnerable was appreciated by those in the workshop. It can be difficult for men to open up about their problems and so the more we can normalise talking the better off men will be.


Facilitating a discussion on men’s health

Outside of this workshop, I played football on a Burton Albion training pitch. It was an enjoyable and predictably tiring experience, having not played football for a while. I was on the winning team, which is unusual in my football career. I also took part in a work shop where we talked about how we dealt with our work life balance and how that can often be unbalanced. I spoke about how I never feel like I am able to take a break. I always want to be productive either in one of my many jobs or campaigning. I sometimes have to force myself to take a break as I often feel on the edge of burnout. It was good to be able to share my experiences with other men, who I know empathise with my experience.

Workshop discussing work life balance

The highlight of the day for me was the key note speech from Mike Sinclair. He is the founder and a director of Sporting Spirit, which is a social enterprise based in north Birmingham and the Black Country. Sporting Spirit run activities and workshops, including football and netball for young people who are likely to be living in deprivation. Mike spoke about his experiences growing up in a deprived area with a strong community spirit and how that shaped his desire to help those growing up in similar circumstances. Sporting Spirit makes a big difference to 100s of children every year and Central Co-op have been working with them for five years.


Overall, the Men’s Voices day was a highly enjoyable experience and a good opportunity to open up and share experiences with other men, who often share the same struggles as myself.


All photos courtesy of Central Co-op

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