With its central Gisborne location and high public profile, the Tauawhi Men’s Centre is helping to break down the stigma many men feel when asking for help for family violence issues and other problems.
“One of the things we wanted to be was visible,” says coordinator Tim Marshall. “We want asking for help and coming to the Centre to be as natural as going to the doctor.”
It’s an approach that seems to work. During its first year, the Men’s Centre, which is a service of Family Works Tairawhiti, provided free counselling to more than 200 men. They’ve continued to arrive in a steady stream since then, looking for help with a wide range of issues, from anger management and addiction to relationship and parenting advice.
At the heart of the Centre’s services is the belief that reducing family violence requires a holistic approach.
“Violence doesn’t happen in isolation. It’s associated with many other things such as relationship difficulties, addictions and mental health problems.”
To help deal with those underlying issues the centre now has a fulltime counsellor and a fulltime social worker. It also runs a weekly men’s group, as well parenting programmes to help men build good relationships with their children. Every year it celebrates men who make a difference in their community at its Men of the Year awards.
“We took a punt that if you have a place that men know about and where they can find support, they will come – and they have,” Tim says.
Tauawhi Men’s Centre is one of 17 recipients of the Todd Foundation’s Partnership Funding, which provides 5-year, untagged funding to three or four previously funded grantees each year.
For more information please see their website www.tauawhi.org.nz