Monday 19th November 2012 marks the biggest ever celebration of International Men’s Day  (IMD) in the UK.

This post provides a summary of some of the key developments and activities in the celebration of IMD in the UK.

WHO CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL MEN’S DAY IN THE UK?

International Men’s Day is an international day of observance and celebration marked in the UK by public sector bodies, charities, colleges, community groups, faith groups businesses and individual campaigners. A list of some of the key events held in 2012 is listed below.

ORGANISATION

2011 was the first year the UK had a national co-ordinator for IMD and in 2012 we took this a step further by setting up a co-ordinating committee that will go on to establish IMD UK as an organisation that oversees the growth and development of the IMD celebrations in the UK from 2013 onwards.

Expanding from an individual co-ordinator to a team of co-ordinators has deepened our understanding of the vital role of national co-ordinators in developing IMD. The team introduced a new UK logo for IMD that can be used by supporters of the day across the country.

One of our biggest challenges as national co-ordinators is to embrace the inclusive spirit of IMD in a way that enables people of many very different viewpoints and beliefs to share the same national platform.

This is vital – not only because it is what the IMD co-ordinator’s agreement calls for – but also because IMD will never be relevant to all men and boys (and women and girls) until everyone in our country is welcome to mark the day and celebrate the day in way that is both personal to them and aligned to the Six Pillars of IMD.

GLOBAL INFLUENCE

Some of the UK team have been working on the redevelopment and management of a new global website for IMD which will see us playing a much bigger role in supporting the growth of the global IMD community in 2013 and beyond. For the second year running we played a lead role in setting the global theme for IMD influencing the way the day has been celebrated around the world in the process.

BUILDING THE UK MEN & BOYS’ SECTOR

The IMD team in the UK is committed to working all year round to help build the strength of the expanding men and boys’ sector. This work builds towards an annual national conference hosted by the charity The Men’s Network in Brighton & Hove.

The regional pilot was first held on International Men’s Day in 2010 and since then the event has been brought forward to the beginning of November so the sector can get together in the run up to IMD leaving delegates and the organisations free to mark IMD in their own way after the conference.

This year’s Second National Conference ran over three days and was attended by more than 200 delegates. Everyone who attends the conference is invited to find a way to celebrate International Men’s Day in their on way.

The IMD UK team followed up the conference by conducting a survey completed by more than 300 people to find out what the Top Ten Men’s Issues are for people working with men and boys’ nationally.

EVENTS

It is impossible to capture all the different ways that people mark International Men’s Day in the UK but what’s clear from the information we have so far is that the day is growing with a broad range of mainstream organisations getting on board including public sector bodies, charities, faith groups, businesses, colleges, professional football clubs etc.

Here we provide a snapshot of some of the events held to celebrate International Men’s Day in the UK in 2012:

The Second National Conference for Men and Boys was attended by more that 200 delegates in Brighton & Hove in the run up to the day.

Ten men’s charities were promoted by IMD UK as organisations that supporters can fundraise for and donate to this year

One of the biggest celebrations took place in Derby at the home of Derby County Football Club thanks to a new IMD Derby Community Group. The team brought together around 20 different partners from the public, private and not-profit sectors to create the day and were generously supported by their ‘sisters’ from International Women’s Day in Derby who first floated the idea.

Brighton & Hove continues to be the spiritual home of International Men’s Day in the UK hosting the national conference and running the third annual International Men’s Day fundraiser – The Tash Dash – which this year raised money for the local Beat Male Cancer campaign. IMD was also celebrated by a local Dads Group run by the city council.

The New Testament Church of God in Birmingham continues to be one of International Men’s Day’s regular supporters this year hosting a Breakfast Conference on the IMD theme Helping Men Live Longer Happier Healthier Lives

IMD activity in London included an interview on BBC London with the city’s IMD co-ordinator Shane Ryan of the groundbreaking charity Working With Men.  According to Shane celebrations this year included a UBELE men’s conversation event and a partnership project with the environment charity Groundwork.

Also celebrating the day in London, mental health and wellbeing charity CoolTan Arts, celebrated the day at its arts centre in Southwark.

Meanwhile in Manchester, Creative Support, a social care provider to more than 5,000 people with learning disabilities, mental health held a fundraising event and a men’s health and wellbeing event.

Nearby in Preston, the group Men Against Violence hosted an event to explore masculinity and male identity.

Flying the flag for older men, The Men Beyond 50 project chose International Men’s Day for the launch of its rebranded website.

The NHS in Scotland also used the day as a platform to launch something new, in this case the national launch of the lifesaving Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) Screening Programme.

Also launching on International Men’s Day 2012 is the Men’s Issues campaign set up in Leeds with the help of the Chris Worfolk Foundation.

And in Northern Ireland the Man Matters project marked the day with the launch of a briefing paper called Understanding Fatherhood in the 21st Century.

There are lots of people talking IMD this year including The Green Parent, One Space, Talk Of The Town, BBC London and BBC Derby to name just a few.

Finally our neighbours in the Isle Of Man joined the celebrations for the first time this year with a celebration at the Isle of Man College.

CONCLUSION

2012 has been an important year in the development of International Men’s Day in the UK consolidating the huge leap forward made in 2011 and laying the foundation for future growth and development of the day and the eventual mainstreaming of IMD as a day that is widely celebrated across the UK.

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