International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th each year and Hastings did its bit (see report here). Fewer people know about International Men’s Day celebrated on November 19th – and many consider it a joke at the expense of women. However, its laudable aims include raising awareness of men’s issues such as mental health, toxic masculinity and the prevalence of male suicide.

Now a newcomer to Hastings, Chris Johnson, is setting up a group to try and address some of these problems. He has long been aware of the difficulty men have in discussing what it is to be male but only recently had the idea to start The Circle of Men. “My friend visits the Hive Women’s circle at the Isabel Blackman Centre in St Leonards,” he explained. “She experienced
the circle as a safe space to meet and share on a human level”.

That gave him the idea of setting up a private space where men can speak honestly about their lives and feelings without judgment. “It is my participation with the Snowflake Night Shelter project that encourages me that sharing and listening are powerful tools we all have access to”.

The idea is to discuss what it means to be a man, what roles they assume and to challenge what society says a man is or is not. The first meeting
was held on Wednesday 6th of March and this will now be
a regular event every Wednesday between 7.00pm and 9.00pm. 

The meetings are open to all men and aim to:
• Support each other to become what each person hopes and wishes to be
• Work collectively to better contribute to and establish local communities
• Promote existing volunteer and community projects.

Meetings begin with simple exercises to help create a relaxed atmosphere where participants can feel free to open up. 

For more information get in touch with Chris on 07904693084 or [email protected] 5 South Terrace, Hastings TN34 1SA, upper room, blue-fronted building. 

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