ManAlive is superfit

More than 4,000 men used the potentially life-saving Cancer Focus NI ManAlive service in the Southern Trust in a two year period from 2011 to 2013.

The project, first of its kind in Northern Ireland, has been hailed as a huge success and has exceeded all its targets, according to a new independent evaluation.

The main plank of ManAlive is the ManVan, which visits workplaces, sports clubs and other local venues bringing health checks into the heart of  rural communities to help lower men’s risk of cancer.


Launched in 2010, ManAlive is run by Cancer Focus NI and funded by the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities Programme. The evaluation showed that 78% of clients were assessed as overweight or obese and 19% were found to have high blood pressure. All the men were given comprehensive healthy lifestyle advice and many were encouraged to see their GPs.

Sandra Gordon, ManAlive Coordinator, Cancer Focus NI, said: “Research shows that men are at a higher risk of developing and dying from nearly all the common cancers. ManAlive was developed in direct response to the glaring inequality in health outcomes for men, especially those living in rural and isolated areas.

“On board the ManVan our specialist nursing staff check blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose, and measure weight, height, and body composition. Our health promotion staff offer lifestyle advice and support on smoking, nutrition, care in the sun, alcohol and exercise.

Finding men

“In its first year more than 2,000 men stepped aboard in over 100 venues – farmers markets, football matches, shopping centres, workplaces and community centres. We go anywhere that men live, work and play.

“This massive uptake has been matched every year since then and has exceeded all our expectations. There is clearly a huge need for easily accessible services to meet the demand,” she said.

Dr Una Lynch, Director of Sonrisa Solutions, which carried out the evaluation, said: “ManAlive is a highly successful, inspirational and innovative project, which serves as a model for similar services across Northern Ireland and further afield.

Flying colours

“The evaluation revealed that ManAlive has surpassed all of its core objectives, has provided eight personal development courses and has hosted three highly successful conferences.

“The project has been found to be highly regarded by the men at whom it is targeted, and has been warmly received by professionals working across the full spectrum of service providers – voluntary, community, statutory and private.

Key factors

“The key elements behind the success of ManAlive are its accessibility, the commitment to partnership working, the reputation and experience of Cancer Focus NI, and the calibre of the staff involved in its delivery.”

Geraldine Campbell, from Big Lottery Fund, said: “We are delighted to have been able to support the ManAlive Project and to hear of its success. The evaluation highlights the dividends of strong partnership working, the effects of targeting specific groups of people to tailor services to their needs and the importance of bringing services to people to increase their up-take and ultimately their impact.”

For more information or to book ManAlive project for your club or group visit or email

If you are worried about cancer call the charity’s free helpline on 0800 783 3339.


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