……..or is it just the beginning?
Christmas marks the end of a short and remarkable pilot to find out what would happen if we created a space for dads of different backgrounds to come together and give help and get help once a fortnight.
Having been at every meeting I’d love to tell you some very personal tales of what individual dads shared, discovered and learnt from the experience but the first rule of dads club is – in homage to the movie Fight Club – “nobody talks about Dads’ Club!”
As we prepare to bring the Dads’ Club pilot to an end the question is what do we do now?
We are committed to supporting dads to develop groups and communities that give men the opportunity to give help and get help whenever they need it.
Our bigger vision is a self-supporting network of formal and informal Dads’ Groups connected to schools, sports clubs, youth groups, places of worship, pubs (a place of worship for some) – anywhere where dads and their families can connect.
The reason for building such a network is not just to support more dads to be more powerfully involved at every stage of their children’s lives but to make sure that whatever stage of fatherhood you are at, you are just one conversation away from the help and support you need.
In the New Year we will be running a project called Dads Connect which will use social activity to connect Dads and their kids.
We are also committed to developing the original Dads’ Group and we’d love to hear your ideas about what this should look like. Just continuing the fortnightly group would no doubt deliver lots more amazing experiences that we couldn’t tell you about (nobody talks about it remember?) and that in itself would make a difference.
And we also want to build on what we’ve already got and one idea for the next phase is to work towards a weekly drop-in where there’s always a group you can join and there’s also 1-2-1 support for dads in crisis who need that extra focus and attention.
In addition we could explore the potential of working with existing groups offering specialist services like support for new fathers and information and advice for separating dads so we can provide every dad who approaches us with a much broader range of support.
Anything is possible for Dads’ Group in 2011 and you can help us shape the service by letting us know how we can develop Dads’ Group in a way that makes more of a difference for more dads next year.
Let us know what you think by posting your comments on this blog or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.