Big Love My Brother

Knowsley Youth Mutual and Big Love Sista have launched “Big Love My Brother” – an inspiring wellbeing project aimed at young boys aged between 10-16 and supported by male leaders from our communities who agree to  “Stand by Our Lads”.

The aim of the preventative wellbeing initiative project is to inspire young people from Knowsley, by bringing vulnerable lads from our communities together with male leaders who can share their stories in a creative setting.

It involves the leaders and the lads painting 6 foot self-portraits, with lots of help from an artist, which will be exhibited with 100 other portraits in a high profile show.

Key leaders and influencers in the region have taken part, gaining so much more from the experience than they ever expected.

With great networking opportunities, it gave them the chance to meet other business leaders from city networks whilst at the same time supporting a ground-breaking initiative which is helping influence young men from marginalised communities.

The project is being evaluated for health and wellbeing outcomes though Bolton University.


Why People Love Big Love My Brother

Our projects are supported by key Chief Executives and people from the region who are joining together to support this project

“In Knowlsey we are committed to supporting good mental health and wellbeing. We recognise how key early intervention is, and projects like Big Love My Brother are fundamental to supporting men to talk about their wellbeing and metal health . There is often a stigma attached to talking about such subjects and the only way we can address this is through positive action. Therefore I am proud to say I am standing with other key leaders in our community to say Big Love My Brother.”

Matt Ashton, Head of Public Health, Knowsley


“The re-education of men and the potential for transformation of age-old destructive habits is of global significance. Big Love My Brother is full of heart and vision and is a noble project.”

Malcolm Stern,
Executive Director, Alternatives, St James’s, Piccadilly

“This is an inspiring project to be involved with – one which will allow me to better understand myself as a leader and to further help extend inter-generational harmony by working alongside young people whilst listening to their stories, and learning from them.”

Jim Lister,

Assistant Chief Executive and Head of Business Development at Merseyside Community Rehabilitation Company

“I am proud to be a partner in such an inspiring project that aims to empower and enable young men in Knowsley to understand their needs and talents and realise their potential. We live in a society where so many young men face unique challenges and who often don’t have the confidence or self belief to make the right choices. This project shines a light on their aspirations and encourages community leaders to support their achievement.”

Dr Tony Lloyd, Chief executive of ADHD Foundation

“I’m painting my portrait and supporting this project…because I want to offer something of me and my experience in support of greater mental health for men, especially young men, in this area. Investing in young people (males and females) to ultimately promote better community cohesion and general wellbeing is always a winning project in my view.” 

Brian McMinn,
Gestalt Psychotherapist

“As a musician and songwriter I focus on the importance and value of people’s stories. It’s important that this project exists to hear the stories of our young people.”

Alun Parry, Songwriter




The project will draw on the learning and success from the Big Love Sista and Big Love Little Sista programmes that took place with 200 female participants in Knowsley in 2014 and in Liverpool and Wirral in 2015.

The key outcome of these programmes was an increase in the overall wellbeing of the participants; this was evaluated using Wemwebs and the five ways to wellbeing evaluation tools (a hard copy of the evaluation is available on request).

The basic premise for the Big Love My Brother programme is that through undertaking activities that enable self-expression, including talking and reflecting on feelings and experiences, participants will increase the self-awareness that is the cornerstone of their emotional resilience.

They will also connect through their stories with peers and role models to provide friendship and support.  This will start a journey for young men, that will focus on their emotional wellbeing, giving them basic tools that will enable the recognition of feelings and the importance of understanding and acknowledging these.

Overall aims and objectives

To provide the opportunity for the young men to see themselves in more empowering ways by and to connect with other young men and male leaders, from a cross section of industry, commerce and public sector in the Knowsley area and beyond. The project set out to:

  • Provide opportunities to share the narrative of their own journey
    opportunities to witness other male stories and connect with them reducing isolation
  • To focus through circle activities of emotional wellbeing and the feelings experienced by individuals.
  • Encouragement of peer support and peer mentoring
  • Facilitation of painting a self-portrait and recording narratives by writing their own story
  • Engagement in creativity, journey sticks and portrait painting to positively express themselves,
  • Encouraging wellbeing through outdoor activities through a day at KYM dam. Trying new sports like sailing, archery and also building new skills such camp craft and using nature as a healing restorative tool.
  • To increase self-esteem, raise confidence.
  • To increasing a sense of belonging to a wider community by sharing the project widely
  • To inspire other boys and men locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
  • To celebrate the young men from Knowsley and create a lasting legacy.

What Parents said about previous projects

I want to thank you for what you’ve done – She’s had a great time and I’m so glad she’s done it so big thanks to you for making it happen.”

“My daughter has had things rough and still struggles at times but she’s come home with happiness and life in her and for me it’s a wonderful thing to see.”

“My beautiful daughter being able to mix with other children without being judged because her mama was an addict.”

“Thanks for what you have all created for our kids – she has been coming in teaching me things and inspiring me and I can’t wait to be able to come along myself.”

“We have been talking to each other properly for the first time in years”

Here is how you can help

  • Share this page and talk to colleagues and friends about it
  • Visit our Facebook Page Like and Share
  • You/ Your Company can donate towards a young lad from Knowsley taking part ( this costs min £250)

  • Keep your eye out for the next Lads and Leaders Weekend if you want to get involved yourself!
  • You can offer skills share with us – if you are a PR Agency, Networker, CEO, Film Maker, Printer, Musician, App Maker etc the list is endless you can offer your time and skills in exchange for being involved and painting a portrait
  • Sponsorship – we are looking for organisations to help fund the project so more young men can take part.The project follows the amazing success of “Big Love Sista” and “Big Love Little Sista” and women leaders “Standing up for Sistahood”