In this week’s Club of the Week feature, we’re heading online in what is becoming one of our fastest growing groups. With attendance hitting over 100 every week, Andy’s Man Club online is proving to be extremely popular with attendees who are unable to attend face-to-face sessions due to a variety of reasons.
When Covid-19 struck in early 2020, it was unclear whether or not Andy’s Man Club would be able to continue its face-to-face talking sessions. As a result, to ensure that no man missed out, we opened up online sessions via Google Meets. When restrictions allowed us to reopen our face-to-face clubs, we decided to keep our online sessions going for key workers, vulnerable people, their families and those who do not feel comfortable attending in person. Since our groups re-opened, we have consistently seen the attendance of these groups hitting over 100 men every Monday night.
The structure of the group has very little difference to a face-to-face meeting. The format is entirely the same with 5 questions asked on the night by a Lead Facilitator. With such high numbers, our online group is split into sub-groups of around 12 attendees, each run by an individual facilitator. One marked difference from our face-to-face sessions is the availability of an online chat function, meaning that attendees can have their own discussions during the session and also show support for other members whilst they are sharing their story.
The session I attended on Monday night was run by Ray Irwin, one of Andy’s Man Club’s experienced facilitators. One worry I had going into this online session was that some of the camaraderie displayed in face-to-face sessions would be lost due to the nature of the platform used, and whilst some elements of our face-to-face sessions are impossible to carry across, there was still affinity displayed between attendees. I logged on at 6:50 on Monday and found a conversation already flowing between our facilitator and a few of the lads on the session, a high level of familiarity and interest displayed between attendees was present. It is safe to say that any attendee will have a highly valuable experience using our online platform.