We recently contracted La Trobe University to evaluate the Older Men: New Ideas (OM:NI) program. The research aimed to find out what was working well; what needed improvement; what ideas participants had about helping OM:NI thrive in the future; and what they thought might threaten OM:NI’s sustainability.
To investigate this, the researchers conducted a focus group and interviews with OM:NI representatives, as well as surveying 80 OM:NI participants. They also reviewed background material (such as the OM:NI manual) and reviewed the literature on best practice ways of engaging men in group-based social activities and programs.
Some positive findings from the survey were that most men (78-88%) agreed that:
- they felt happy and supported and connected to others after attending OM:NI
- OM:NI helped participants develop and maintain friendships
- OM:NI is a space where participants can discuss their needs and have their voice heard among friends.
Most participants were satisfied or strongly satisfied with:
- OM:NI’s ability to meet their needs (89%)
- the location of their OM:NI group (88%)
- the activities and discussions of their OM:NI group (83%)
- how their group is currently run (91%)
- the social connections they have made through OM:NI (84%)
- their overall experience with OM:NI (93%).
A detailed report of the evaluation will be used by COTA Victoria and the OM:NI Advisory Committee (OAC) to continue to support the OM:NI groups and build on their success.