|Gamma Brunch||GAMMA survey Results|
|Gamma Annual Dinner||UWS Medical Student|
|The GAMMA Project||GAMMA AGM: 5th October 7.30 pm|
Dear GAMMA members and friends,
I wanted to write to give you an update on several things that are currently happening within GAMMA.
GAMMA is going to trial a monthly Sunday morning brunch which we hope will provide an opportunity for men to get together outside the context of our normal meetings and enjoy mutual friendship and support.
The first brunch will be:
Date: Sunday 31st July
Where: Café Zoe, 688 Bourke Street
A few of us will get there a bit earlier to reserve a spot for those able to make it.
The intent is to hold a brunch on the last Sunday of each month (so it's easy to remember!). I trialled the café last Sunday and it has a lovely atmosphere, the Eggs Benedict wonderful and coffee great. I hope you can make it along. . .
The GAMMA Annual Dinner on the 15th June was a great success with 43 men in attendance. Thanks to Adam Bold from Points of Difference for arranging a great venue ('Vamps' at Paddington) where food and service were excellent. We shared an intimate space where we were privileged to hear Ian Roberts speak to us. His natural, open, authentic style drew us all to him.
GAMMA has embarked on an exciting two-fold project designed to produce additional resources for men in the GAMMA context. We have gained permission to use some of our excess funds from 2010-11 financial year to assist in the development of (1) an e-book of men's stories and (2) brief video interviews of GAMMA men which can be placed on our website.
These resources are intended to reach a broader audience of men and particularly provide information for those who are rural and remote.
GAMMA committee member, Peter Kay, has generously offered to produce these resources at virtually no cost to GAMMA.
Peter is highly qualified to undertake this task given that professionally he is a freelance writer, reviewer, documentary maker and video consultant. He is also a specialist in video production, particularly web video, and he undertakes work for a broad range of clients including government departments, business, and not-for-profit organisations. We are extremely grateful to have Peter's passionate support for this major project. It will take 1 - 2 years to complete but information and videos will be progressively made available on the website as it is developed.
In order to ensure a high quality product, a reference group of key professionals has been formed who are assisting in the review process of the project. These include a Lawyer, Psychologist, Doctor, Family Intervention Specialist, Counsellor, Chaplain, Teacher and key GAMMA members.
Following is a little more detail about the two parts of the project.
Part 1: The GAMMA Book of Men's Stories: The book will be primarily aimed at men from the perspective of men.
It is anticipated that 10 men will be interviewed for the book.
Each story will be transcribed and edited to develop an overarching narrative covering different themes or subject areas that comprise the key elements of the 'journey' that men experience.
At this stage these elements will probably include:
Men and their stories are being chosen so they facilitate this structure.
The resource will be developed as an e-book and progressively made available on the GAMMA website for download. In the longer term, the book may be presented to a publisher to gauge their interest or it may be self published in hard copy version. Legal documents have been drawn up regarding informed consent for interviewees.
Part 2: GAMMA Men's Video Interviews: 3-5 minute edited interviews to be made available on GAMMA website.
About 5 men will be video interviewed regarding their 'journey'. These interviews will be edited into short video segments with accompanying background/context.
N.B. Peter has already produced a trial video using a member of the GAMMA committee. This has been shown to our funding body and received their affirmation. It will be available on the website soon. Sincere thanks to Drew Petterson for offering his story. If you would like to offer your story in this way please contact me.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our recent Survey Monkey survey. 20 people responded to the survey and this has
provided very helpful feedback and encouragement. These are the results:
GAMMA speakers have been relevant and informative:
55% Strongly Agreed
GAMMA meetings have provided valuable assistance to me:
50% Strongly Agreed
The facilitation of meetings created safety and respect for all:
65% Strongly Agreed
GAMMA Social events have been affordable and accessible:
35% Strongly Agreed
Safe sex information has been provided in a relevant and helpful manner:
60% Strongly agreed
I would recommend GAMMA to others:
90% Strongly Agreed
How did you find out about GAMMA? (18 respondents only)
Website/Internet Search 61.1%
White Pages 5.6%
Word of Mouth 33.3%
Sexual Health Centres 5.6%
Newspaper/Gay Press 5.6%
Did you find the telephone service useful?
25% Strongly Agreed
45% Haven't used the service
Topics people would like covered in the future:
All topics have been good
I was interested to read recently that Bisexual Men are the largest group of men involved in M/M sex behaviour, larger than Gay M/M sex behaviour. It would be of interest to explore the area of Bisexuals who continue to have sex with men AND women.
Children of a partner
Like to know more about social networking in the gay community
Anything on how and when to tell the children
Are there any additional comments or suggestions you would like to make?
'Just to know one is not alone'
GAMMA has been a lifeline for me - keep up the good work
All good and friendly caring environment Important to ensure all people have equal space to talk in meetings
Would prefer the meetings to start earlier
Your service is great and I can't thank you guys enough for all the hard work and time you put into it
Thanks for all your inclusiveness of us, whatever backgrounds we have with the same need for a friend or an idea at the right moment or...reachable! Thanks again
In response to this valuable feedback we have taken the following measures.
We have focused on the development of our telephone call line. We now have three people, Andrew Stewart, Peter Kay and Scott Middleton who take turns in receiving calls from the line. In order to up skills these men we have undertaken a training program conducted by Eric Hudson, who is a Master Clinician with the Australian Association of Relationship Counsellors.
In addition, a supervision/training session is being undertaken every 6 to 8 weeks where these men are invited to bring along case studies of calls that they have taken. This provides the opportunity to reflect on issues that they have dealt with, how they have responded and what could be done to improve this. There is a high level of accountability and duty of care inherent in this process and deep commitment by all to provide the best quality, ethical, responsive service that we can.
The men working the phone line have also been booked into a 2-day Suicide Intervention training course designed to help them identify and confidently respond to men calling in who may be at risk of suicide. On your behalf I thank these men for so generously giving of their time and care to support other men who often call in considerable confusion and distress. We receive several calls each week.
We have commenced our meetings 30 minutes earlier, now starting at 7.30pm.
We have further updated our website given that this is where the majority of people find GAMMA and are exploring a significant redevelopment of the site. We want to modernise the appearance and function of the website. We are also engaging in the development of web-based resources as identified in the 'GAMMA Project' above.
We are looking at low cost social outings to improve accessibility for members. One event offered by one of our GAMMA members was where people were invited to bring food for a shared meal at his home. This was a very enjoyable evening for those present. We are also trialling the GAMMA brunch as advertised above.
We have proactively advertised GAMMA in the mainstream newspaper press to determine if this reaches isolated men.
We will take the topic suggestions into account for planning next year's speakers calendar + actively seek to include the request for information about 'when and how to tell the children' in our upcoming meeting in August focusing around these issues.
Those of you at our last meeting on the 6th July would have met Andrew Gowland, a 3rd year university medical student on placement at the Leichhardt Women's Health Centre (LWHC).
Andrew is focusing on the work of the LWHC female partners of gay and bi-sexual men's group and GAMMA.
As part of his placement he has been invited to:
Undertake research to identify what other similar groups may exist worldwide so that we can potentially draw from their resources;
Andrew is also required to present to his student colleagues about what he has learnt. This is an invaluable opportunity for us to have some input into the lives of the new generation of doctors in training around these issues.
It goes without saying that the confidentiality of GAMMA members will be strictly maintained.
On the 5th October, GAMMA will be holding their Annual General Meeting. This meeting will provide an important opportunity to gain an overview of GAMMA's work for the year.
We will also be voting on the membership of GAMMA's management committee for the following 12 months. If you feel that you have energy and desire to support the work of GAMMA please consider nominating for a position. Nomination forms will be sent out in due course. Please note that noone will be pressured to nominate as it is important that people who join the committee have a 'heart' for GAMMA and a desire to further its work.
In conclusion It is a privilege to hold this role and to see the support that members provide for each other and new men who take the huge risk to make contact with GAMMA. I want GAMMA to be a safe, respectful space for every man to be able to journey find their own path through the myriad of issues that confront them. Please know that support is available. Don't be alone and don't hesitate to get in contact with us.