It’s based in Birmingham’s Balsall Heath neighbourhood, which is among the 20 per cent most deprived nationally, and is based on the Countrymen UK model.
The Countrymen Club is run from Balsall Heath City Farm and aims to provide a much-needed space for older men in the area to come and enjoy the farm environment, stay active, and build connections.
Although Balsall Heath has a historical spirit of community, there are limited activities specifically focussed on the wellbeing of men over-50, says Aisha Mahmood, the project’s Outreach Initiative Specialist.
‘The project aims to tackle the challenges being faced by men who find themselves isolated because of deteriorating physical or mental health or changing social conditions,’ said Aisha.
Balsall Heath City Farm is the only one of its kind in Birmingham and will offer men opportunities to get involved in gardening as well as farming activities, including caring for animals.
As well as providing care packages, the project will also refer people on to other therapeutic services locally, such as STH.
‘We also aim to offer projects and services across the community, with well-established out-of-school services and a regular community café,’ said Aisha.