Wyse Guys

Wyseguys was developed as part of Signpost Advice and Information for Young People in Sept 1999, based in Wythenshawe, Manchester. Tim Rumley and Margaret Manning, from the project, had noticed long and enduring problems affecting young men through their advice service. This included relationship, health, education, employment, lifestyle and behavior problems. The project wanted to intervene through the use of group work to minimise these problems. They wanted to make young men better friends, partners, family and citizens.

During this period youth work had been asked to intervene in tackling crime and disorder usually associated with young men.

Wyseguys took an alternative approach and instead believed that young men had the critical capacity to make their own life choices based on exploring themselves as young men and ‘their world’. The project attempted to make men aware of the ‘straight jacket of masculinity’ that has a specific bearing on their thoughts and actions.

The project carried out sustained group work with young men. The project tackled racism, sexism and homophobia.

The project was developed by myself and Matthew Trickett and continued for 9 years.

The project worked with over 1000 young men and delivered over 40 projects and programmes, in a variety of settings.

The project worked with young men with long and enduring mental health problems, young men with offending issues, young men with disabilities, young men who were being bullied, young men in alternative education, young men in mainstream education, unemployed young men, homeless young men and young men with substance misuse issues.

The programmes were carefully planned and evaluated and increased the young men’s awareness around physical, mental and sexual health, sexuality, relationships, fatherhood and sexism. It used a therapeutic approach combining discussions, one to one’s and activities.

Feedback from young men

‘I’m better in dealing with aggression’

‘I’m going to try to talk more about how I feel’

‘The project was fun’

‘I enjoyed the writing’

‘I enjoyed talking about sex !’

‘I found out that Gay people can get bullied’.

‘The young men’s group is a positive thing for young men. Before I came I was a wreck, could hardly get out of the house. It improved my confidence and helped get me back to school’

‘There are a lot of depressed guys out there, in the group I can talk more openly; it’s a good way to explore problems’.

‘well i was a seriously nervous person bout talkin bout my mental health i wud hav rather kept myself hidden away and driven myself literally insane but ur group made me feel safe and secure to finally accept the truth that i had a problem in my head and if it ws for u gettin me councellin i wudnt be at the stage i am right now cuz i now mandatory hav to see a string of mental health professional and im drugged up to my eyes but if it wasnt for u gettin me the help i needed then id prob be either dead or in a secure hospital so thank you tony’
Mike Rojano- Pollard

Feedback from key partners

‘Wyseguys (young men’s group) is an invaluable resource for socially excluded young men’
Catherine O Neil, Mental Health Practitioner

‘We should keep pushing this invaluable work on the agenda’
Mike Blaney, Family Action Benchill

Sexual Health

The delivery of targeted sexual health programmes aimed at those young men, most at risk at being ‘teenage parents’ or within violent relationships, or at the risk of STI’s.

Within the framework of making the young men aware of all negative health impacts, sexual health programmes explore specific features-

  • What is a man?
  • When do you become a man?
  • What are men expected to be?
  • Male body image
  • Relationships
  • Contraception
  • STI’s
  • Where to get help
  • Fatherhood

Through working and developing this work through Trinity House, working in following settings –

  • AIM
  • Manchester PRU’s (proctors, Fielden Park)
  • Southern Cross School
  • Trinity High School
  • Academy High School
  • Meridian Education Project