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Step By Step

The Step by Step (SBS) project partnership has secured more than €2.6 million of European funding in its €4.3 million cross-border partnership involving 10 organisations from the UK, The Netherlands, France and Belgium (see below for partner details) including the University of Chichester.
The project was approved and funded by the EU Interreg 2 Seas Programme 2014-2020 (co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund) which will support the project over four years from 2017-2021.

The aim of SBS is to empower men to move from poor health and or isolation to healthy social participation or active engagement in the labour market.  It will promote a culture in which all citizens in all regions will have the confidence to make sustainable positive changes in their lives benefitting themselves and society.

The expected changes include:

  • reduced health costs related to physical & mental health issues
  • better health contributing to healthier individuals, families, communities and the workforce increased labour market activity
  • decreased number of work days lost to poor health.

The target group for SBS is specifically men and in particular those who may be socially isolated and suffering from poor mental health or poor wellbeing, however the project will also be open to women who will be very welcome to use the new SBS services.


There is consistent evidence to suggest that men access health services less frequently than women and experience poorer physical health outcomes. The suicide rates for men across Europe are increasing.  Additionally, unemployment, non-participation, isolation and poor mental health are all contributing factors. Depression and other mental health problems are both under-detected and under-treated but men’s health is particularly poor. Studies have shown that the unemployed suffer more health problems, including mental health, than those in work and the longer people remain out of work when sick, the less likely they will return.

Currently health services (general practice, dentists, pharmacies etc) are under-used by men, which adversely impacts their health, their families and their communities, as well as on employers and the national health budget. Men are also less likely to make use of preventative health checks such as oral health and screening.

Outreach work by project partners has shown that men see a clear need for a different way of providing services to them within their local communities.


  1. A model to improve men’s mental and physical health/wellbeing via a community space/workshop where men meet/learn new skills/engage in hands on activities. Video explaining the model can be found here
  2. New model of community health service delivery for men and vulnerable groups.
  3. 94 new workshops implementing the model
  4. A gaming-based virtual tool to connect people and indirectly to raise their awareness of their physical/mental health and wellbeing.
  5. Training programme to create champions for health and wellbeing from within the workshop attendees.
  6. Training programme for soft skills (motivational interviewing, empowerment etc)

The University of Chichester is one of ten project partners, the organisations involved are:

  • The Health and Europe Centre
  • Kent County Council (UK)
  • Hampshire County Council (UK)
  • Bolwerk (BE)
  • Wattrelos Association of Community Centres (FR)
  • ADICE – Association for the development of citizen and European initiatives (FR)
  • Community Centre Jean Ferrat Arques (FR)
  • Community Centre ‘De Mussen’ (NL)
  • Wellbeing People (UK)

There are also a number of observer partners:

  • The Department of Work and Pensions
  • Southampton City Council
  • UK Men’s Sheds Association
  • Maison de l’emploi de Valenciennois
  • Werkgevers Service Punt
  • Conseil Départemental du Nord


A team from the University of Chichester’s Institute of Sport are involved in running the evaluation of the SBS project.  This involves a multi-level, multi-method assessment of the impact of the workshops and community groups across the life-course of the project, on participant’s physical and mental health, wellbeing, employability and place within their communities.  In addition, the evaluation will capture the diversity of the workshops and groups in each of the countries to inform planning of future gender-based community projects.   

Dr Ruth Lowry, Reader in the Psychology of Active Living, is leading the evaluation of the Step by Step project. 

Andy Wood, Research Assistant in Health and Wellbeing, co-ordinates the day-to-day running of the evaluation.

Professor Mike Lauder, Project Management team and Director of the Institute of Sport

Alison Davis, Project Management team and Project Support Coordinator for the Institute of Sport

Other Research Collaborators

Chris Heaney, Senior Lecturer in Adventure Education, Institute of Sport

Dr Matthew Sitch, Research Assistant

Dr Sarah Edmunds, Senior Lecturer in Exercise Psychology, Institute of Sport

Dr Esther Burkitt, Reader in Developmental Psychology, Institute of Education, Health and Social Sciences

Dr Nicolas Farina, Research Fellow in Dementia, Brighton and Sussex Medical School


Lowry, R. G., Burkitt, E., Edmunds, S., & Farina, N. (December 2018).  Men in the company of men: A scoping review of the effectiveness of Men’s Sheds.  Division of Sport & Exercise Psychology, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Lowry, R. G., Wood, A., Lefever, O. & Tollet, C. (June, 2019).   Intervening in the community to increase the health, wellbeing, social inclusion and employability of Men:  Step by Step Project Protocol and Logic Model. International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, Prague, Czech Republic.


Wood, A., Heaney, C., Sitch, M., Hooper, S., & Lowry, R. G. (September 2019) More than a tool shed:  Piloting a multi-level, multi-method evaluation of the Step-By-Step Project. Public Health England, Warwick, UK



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