Tough Guy Book Club

Tough Guy Book Club doesn't require "Tough" from any of its members - and while it certainly helps if you've finished the book we're reading, it's no drama if you've not got around to it. What the club cares deeply about though, is getting guys to talk with each other and listen to each other and in the process, help look out for and support guys that really are "doing it tough" in their lives. Going through Covid has thrown a whole new set of challenges at people - from job insecurity, to home-schooling the kids, caring for vulnerable friends/relatives, dealing with the loneliness that comes with self-isolation measures, working in front-line essential services, not to mention the possibility of actually contracting the virus itself. As a group that operates on bringing guys together, to talk and share their experiences in person, Covid threw down the gauntlet at Tough Guy Book Club too. When our monthly pub-based chats were kiboshed by social distancing, the group responded in kind through a number of simple, but impactful measures designed to help our guys get through it. First off, we kept our regular monthly meetings going by hosting them online via video-conferencing. This allowed us to maintain practically all of the features of a regular meet-up and got members from over 35 of our "Chapters" chatting with each other, right across Australia (as well as the UK and USA too!). Noting the success of the video-conferencing format, our second measure was to bring a few extra-curricular events online to help break up the monotony of isolation measures and to allow guys to keep the conversation going with fellow members. The Club has hosted a series of "virtual" events that have continued to gather guys together for trivia nights, music sessions and even professional whiskey tastings (complete with whiskey samples organised and delivered to your door in time for the event!). On top of, and throughout all of this, we've made a point of making ourselves available for a talk with anyone who may be doing it tough because of Covid - that if they want a chat or need to get something off their chest, that they've got a group of guys just a text or a phonecall away who are ready and willing to listen. Initiatives like these didn't happen on their own, they took effort and energy and organisation from a bunch of ordinary blokes who just want to help other ordinary blokes. We're emerging from this thing with a greater sense of resolve, and purpose and empathy too - and for this I think Tough Guy Book Club deserves a well-earned nod for the "Significant Response to COVID-19 Health Award".

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