How to use a Community Grant to ease loneliness and disconnection in your community
After receiving an Australia Post Community Grant, some local not-for-profits help people to go from being lonely and disconnected to belonging within a community.
Video: The Australia Post logo sits in the bottom right corner. Four men of different ages greet each other and hug in a rustic restaurant. White text reads, "Introducing Men's Table, a 2020 Australia Post Community Grant Recipient." The sun shines on an old-fashioned red brick hotel. A sign reading, "The Men's Table, Supporting Men," is stuck to a wood door. A curly-haired man is interviewed.
Text: "Michael Collins, Men's Table Regional Host." Sitting at a table, the four men clink water glasses, then talk. A fire is lit in the fireplace.
Audio: Michael: So the Men's Table meets once a month. Just a group of guys. We're talking about our own story. What's the live issue in the last month that maybe something's come up. Being a safe space, we can normalise what's happening in our life, and often hearing from other guys what's going on for them actually doesn't make us feel so bad, so we're not alone. The growth I've seen from guys who have been in our table and in other tables has been amazing. A lot of guys tell me that they're better listeners, especially with their kids and their family. The other result I've seen is guys more inclined to seek help.
Video: The four men eat and talk. A bearded man is interviewed. Text: "Ross James, Men's Table Participant."
Audio: Ross: The Men's Table came together pretty much at the same time as the fires. Being able to just share my experience with a group of men who are open, willing to just hear me out, those things were incredibly powerful and important at the time. I've definitely grown in the ability to know when I need to share, when I need to connect. For me, it's like a vital nutrient that I need. I get so much from the Men's Table.
Video: A grey-haired man is interviewed. Text: "Gordon Munro, Men's Table Participant."
Audio: Gordon: For my wellbeing, I've found the experience very enlightening. There's just a rapport that we seem to build up here. And I did say at one time in our meeting that I love these guys.
Video: Standing by the tables, Gordon and Michael chat. Michael and Ross hug.
Audio: Michael: Everywhere we go, there's just been an incredible appetite for us to launch new tables. I've gotta say a big thanks to Australia Post for that Community Grant. Very grateful. It's made a huge difference.
Video: The Australia Post logo appears on a red screen. Below, text reads, "When we connect, we feel better. auspost.com.au/grants."
With stereotypical masculine norms restricting some men from sharing feelings, finding an opportunity to talk and connect can be a challenge.
That’s where The Men’s Table comes in, an organisation that establishes local groups or ‘Tables’ where men meet monthly to share a meal and talk about the issues that impact their lives and wellbeing.
“Being a safe space, we can normalise what’s happening in our lives,” says Michael Collins, a regional host with The Men’s Table. “And hearing what’s going on for the other guys doesn’t make us feel so bad, so we’re not alone.”
The Men’s Table aims to connect men to talk about how they’re going.
Men supporting other men
Belonging to The Men's Table gives men the opportunity to boost their mental, emotional and social wellbeing. This is especially important for individuals who are negotiating life challenges, and it’s a powerful tool against the social isolation and loneliness that affects many men.
“The growth I’ve seen from guys who have been in our Table, and in other Tables, has been amazing,” Michael says. “I’ve seen guys more inclined to seek help. And a lot of guys tell me that they’re better listeners now, especially with their kids and their family.”
For every man at a Table, an average of three more people in their lives benefit from their improved communication skills and boosted mental health and wellbeing.
For Ross James, a regular Men’s Table participant, joining a group came at a time he needed additional support. “The Men’s Table came together pretty much at the same time as the (Black Summer) fires,” he explains. “Being able to share my experience with a group of men who are open and willing to hear me out – those things were incredibly powerful and important at the time.”
This has taught Ross about the importance of being vulnerable and discussing challenges with friends on a regular basis. “I’ve definitely grown in the ability to know when I need to share, when I need to connect. For me, it’s like a vital nutrient that I need. I get so much from The Men’s Table.”
An Australia Post Community Grant could be used to ease loneliness and disconnection in your community.
More Tables than ever before
The first Men's Table started in 2011, and the Australia Post Community Grant has helped to expand and set up seven new Tables in regional communities. There are now over 30 Tables established across the country with many in regional areas.
“Everywhere we go, there’s been an incredible appetite for us to launch new Tables,” Michael says.
The Men’s Table is a safe place that offers all men a sense of belonging within their own community. Diversity of membership is encouraged from across different cultures, socio-economic groups, and identities.