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Movember and The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride commit $1.15 million to reduce social isolation

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The global men’s health charity, Movember, has partnered with The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride (DGR) in a new project to tackle social isolation and poor mental health within the motorcycle community.

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride Social Connections Challenge is being developed to find initiatives which can improve the social connectedness, life satisfaction and mental wellbeing of motorcycle riders.

Riding is inherently isolating. Commonly, men experiencing mental health challenges don’t ride to talk; they ride to escape from their problems, vulnerability and having to communicate. Movember and DGR are looking to develop initiatives that men want to ride toward.

The new funding opportunity will leverage money raised by The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride community to create a pool of AUD 1.15 million to support projects working with men in the motorcycling.

While recognising the camaraderie that already exists among motorcycle riders, the Challenge aims to improve the social connection between motorcyclists further because, in general, people who are satisfied with their relationships and social connections are more likely to experience good mental health and wellbeing.

Although a lack of social connections puts men at greater risk of experiencing poor health, real solutions explicitly aimed at men in motorcycling that address social isolation or loneliness are limited.

Movember and DGR are proud to challenge the creative and forward-thinking people of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK and the US to rethink the box and deliver innovative concepts which lead to game-changing solutions targeting social connectedness, life satisfaction and mental wellbeing of motorcycle riders.

Brendan Maher, Movember’s Global Director of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, believes passionately in the impact that community-based interventions can deliver.

“Movember is excited about finding new ways to help men create stronger connections. We know that getting involved in hobbies or shared interests can really help strengthen our sense of belonging and build a strong foundation of support when we experience life’s challenges. Funds raised from The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride have enabled this opportunity, and it’s great to be able to give back to make what we hope is a lasting impact on motorcycling communities.”

Mark Hawwa, The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride Founder, is thrilled to see funds raised by the motorcycling community going into back into programs designed to improve the mental health and wellbeing of riders.

“The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride began to help build positive connections between riders and their health. Since 2013, our community has tirelessly fundraised to make a positive impact on men’s health programs and awareness,” he said. “Along with Movember, we are recognising that men in motorcycling are unique, so we are taking the ‘going to where men are’ approach to nurture and grow more accessible and engaging programs targeted to men in motorcycling.

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride Social Connections Challenge will fund new programs that will give back to our riders using funds they have raised to make a difference to them.

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride Social Connections Challenge will operate in two phases. Phase 1 will see a maximum of 25 development grants, valued at up to AUD $7,500, awarded internationally. These grants will enable applicants to ideate, pitch and develop their idea.

Phase 2 will see a maximum of 10 pilot project grants, valued at up to AUD $75,000, allocated to selected initiatives. These grants will enable the most promising initiatives to be delivered in pilot format.

The initiative will focus primarily on middle-aged men who ride motorcycles and are dealing with key life challenges, and young riders in need of mentorship.

Each year, The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride raises funds for men’s health, which is then invested in research and programs by Movember.

The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride Social Connections Challenge is an example of the way in which Movember invests in projects aimed at achieving better mental health outcomes and suicide prevention interventions for men and boys.

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Pearl Dy is a community manager and journalist. She is passionate about business and development particularly involving not-for-profits, charity and social entrepreneurship.


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