Methods of working
Yorkshire MESMAC works predominantly with Gay men, Bisexual men, and men who have sex with men (MSM), people living with HIV, young LGB&T people, BME communities, people who misuse drugs and sex workers.
Many Gay men find it difficult to access services and some Gay men who do access services do not come out to the service provider. There are many men who have sex with men who do not, for a variety of reasons, identify as Gay or Bisexual and so are disenfranchised from the usual channels of information and sources of support.
To overcome these barriers, Yorkshire MESMAC (YM) delivers a comprehensive programme of outreach across North and West Yorkshire. Outreach aims to make contact with men where they meet to socialise and/or have sex. Outreach staff make contact with men and offer them information, support and sexual health resources.
Free condoms and lubricant are also distributed to the commercial Gay scene. Yorkshire MESMAC is currently on Facebook, Twitter, Squirt and Fitlads as part of its virtual outreach as many men now use the Internet to meet and have sex. Other projects that are part of the YM Group of Services also conduct outreach with their target populations.
A central feature of YM’s work is group development. This work has four main strands: establishing new groups, on-going support for groups established by YM, on-going support for established groups, and creating and supporting networks.
We are committed to developing groups that are self-defining and self-organising, so that these groups reflect the needs and concerns of their members. YM works with dozens of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGB&T) community groups, and YM is in contact with hundreds more throughout the country. Other projects that are part of the YM Group of Services also conduct group work with their target populations.
YM offers a confidential one-to-one support service for Gay and Bisexual men, MSM, and their female partners. Other projects that are part of the YM Group of Services may also have access to one-to-one sessions and the Counselling Service.
YM also provides a confidential Counselling Service in Leeds, Bradford and Wakefield via a range of counsellors working to different therapeutic models and with different areas of specialism.
YM has produced a wide variety of written and audio resources targeting Gay, Bisexual & MSM and information on HIV. Other projects that are part of the YM group of services also produce resources aimed at their target populations. YM also has stocks of leaflets produced by other agencies, local and national.
YM has a dedicated project, the BLAST! Project, that works with young men and boys up to the age of 25, who are being sexually exploited, at risk of being sexually exploited and/or selling sex and do not see themselves as being exploited. This project covers the Bradford and Leeds districts. The BLAST! Project offers fast track referrals into many key support services, as well as offering one-to-one support, advocacy and outreach at various times and locations.
Yorkshire MESMAC has two dedicated HIV support projects, the Our Project and Begin, that work with people living with or affected by HIV in the Bradford and Wakefield districts. The focus of the projects is to provide one-to-one social care, support, advice and sign-posting for people living with HIV/AIDS and also to facilitate peer support for these service users.
Yorkshire MESMAC provides support and accessible services to young people up to the age of 25 years who identify as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans and those young people who are questioning their sexual orientation. Support can be given via the various LGBT youth groups in Wakefield, Bradford and North Yorkshire, one-to-one support sessions, outreach and counselling. In Leeds, one-to-one support sessions, outreach and counselling can be provided to Gay, Bisexual and Questioning young men.
YM works with other local agencies and professionals to develop and improve service provision for Gay and Bisexual men and MSM. YM offers a wide range of training opportunities, tailored for agencies, professionals and community groups, ranging from sexuality awareness and sexual health awareness to group development. Other projects that are part of the YM Group of Services also offer training and consultancy sessions.