What to expect at new Positive Living for Men Group in Bandon

Posted on: 9th April, 2019

Category: Health & Lifestyle

Contributor: West Cork People

Tom Conlon is a psychotherapist and group facilitator living in Glounthaune, Co. Cork. With a particular interest in the health of men, Tom has worked with men in a number of settings, including a group within the Men’s Shed and with men serving time in the prison system.

A ‘Positive Living for Men Group’ will commence on Monday evenings in Bandon in May, beginning with an Open Evening on Monday 29 April 2019 from 6.30-8pm at An Tobairín Health Food Shop, Station Road. Given a similar group has been operating in East Cork since early last year, I thought it would be helpful for me to tell you what that group has been like for its members.

“One of the best decisions we all ever made was to join this group…it’s turning out to be a great mutual support”.

This is feedback received from a member of the Midleton Positive Living for Men Group. It highlights some of the main aims of the group – to provide a mutual support network; to learn from the wisdom of others; and be compassionate to others who are struggling. But what type of person was involved in the Midleton group?

Nine people started the group at the start of February 2019,. The group involves a weekly meeting of an hour and a half. Seven men went the full distance of the ten week duration of the group. The two men who decided to drop out discovered that the group wasn’t for them and, indeed, groups can be a challenging experience for some. The seven who stayed did not know each other before they started and were drawn from all age groups. Some had a chronic health condition (for example, one has Parkinson’s Disease) and some have experienced substantial challenges with their mental health. What I discovered that all the members were experiencing some form of social exclusion, be it estrangement from their families, being unemployed or not involved in work, or not being involved in the community around them. The group proved to be an effective form of ‘social prescribing’, a way of bringing people together in order to talk about the real-life challenges that they face.

Many people ask me what, if any, connection is there with the Men’s Shed which is a very important support organisation for men. My answer is that the Positive Living for Men Group is primarily a safe and confidential place for people to talk openly about their mental and physical health. It often is difficult to speak about matters like this in other contexts – and my work as a psychotherapist means that I am able to channel anything that gets disclosed in a protected and safe manner.

A typical session involves an initial check-in with each of the members to find out how they are doing and to give them a chance to highlight anything important going on their lives. The group then engages in topics of mutual interest. The Midleton group was particularly interested in nutrition and mindfulness and we brought in some local health practitioners with specific expertise in these areas. We also set up a WhatsApp group where members were able to share resources and insights in the general area of health. I confess to being amazed at the range and depth of the issues that the members were able to deal with. And contrary to what many believe, men are well able to talk about what really matters to them when they feel that they will be heard.

A group like this is a wonderful way to be heard, to have your voice included and to develop a support network of a kind that you may not have experienced before. Please come to the Open Evening and get involved – it will be fantastic to see you there.

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County Council host 'Dursey Cable Car Community Information Evening' Tuesday 23rd April 2019 6-8pm in the Lehanmore Community Centre, Garnish, Beara peninsula.

Cork County Council, in partnership with Fáilte Ireland, is currently planning the development of the Dursey Island Cable Car and Visitor Centre valued at approximately €7 million.

Following on from the very successful community information evening held in Glengarriff in late March, Cork County Council propose to hold a further information evening to engage with the community and all stakeholders in regards to development of the Cable Car and Visitor Centre.

This information event, happening in the Lehanmore Community Centre, Garnish, aims to update the local community and industry stakeholders on the status of the project and to seek comments and observations. It will afford the local community and industry stakeholders an additional opportunity to comment on the current preliminary design which will be on display on the evening.

Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy is encouraging everybody with an interest to attend this meeting, “It is vital to the success of this project to get input from the community and the feedback from these events will go into the overall design to help shape the Dursey Island cable car and visitor centre’s development into an iconic tourist experience that brings with it great benefits to the Beara region”

The third of three community information meetings on the development, this upcoming meeting, in Lehanmore Community Centre, will close the current series of formal information events. It is intended that a new series will commence post planning consent in late 2019 or early 2020.
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