When I get asked what is our "purpose" or "goal" or "vision" with Mr. Perfect, I used to revert automatically in my head to the scripted blurb on our website or marketing materials.
As is normal with any company, over time you iterate and edit this copy, and me being a writer means I am much more pedantic about it, or at least I used to be.
Right about now, in mid-2020, it feels just about right, that after 4.5 years we have settled into a true sense of knowing why we exist. And I have even chopped that website copy down to something simple.
Mr. Perfect started for 5 key reasons, all of varying weight, but now I frame this answer of existence in a different way:
What is the least we hope to achieve with Mr. Perfect?
To provide a space and place for men to go to for two hours per month to escape and just be them. Whether that's a physical escape, or a mental one. If we can hold true to our word that we will be there every month, same place, same time, same supportive and friendly people then we as a charity know that this can give some mental relief, reduce isolation and create community and connection for men to move forward in a productive way.
What is the most we hope to achieve with Mr. Perfect?
I could easily here go for the PR-friendly response and say "we want to reduce suicide statistics", but (a) that is a shallow answer (b) we are not in the suicide prevention space, we aim to be the early-stage, "soft-entry" for men. Well-meaning people have often told me what they thought we were without asking or doing deeper research, when in reality the reason we exist has evolved over time and cannot really be effectively articulated in words. What we do know is it is now for people to go deeper, beyond the high-fives for saying we are passionate about mental health.
What I can say from objective feedback is I have heard stories recently of guys that come to our BBQs, and have been consistently for 6 months, forming friendships outside of the BBQ, meeting other men for coffee weekly, chatting on the phone, over Zoom, just reaching out to chat when they are feeling tense or even share the moments when they are in a good space.
I have heard stories of people getting jobs out of these chance meetings with people in their community, accessing professional help after coming to a BBQ as they felt they knew it was the right thing, others that have had their mind put at ease when they realised this BBQ is all they needed and this is their "therapy".
All of the above is gold to me, and to the people involved with the charity, the Board, the Operations team, the Sponsors, Partners, the priceless BBQ Hosts. It is the only fuel that keeps us doing what we do.
Whatever the outcome, we will always try our hardest to be Mental Health's Mate.
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