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.

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.”

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.”

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.

Connecting local communities

Australia Post is delivering the goods for local communities with grants to support mental wellbeing. Because when we connect, we feel better.