Home-Start UK is committed to working more effectively with more dads and male carers in Scotland over the next three years. Since its timely inception in 2016's Year of the Dad, the programme is helping men to gain insight and confidence in parenting through support and to find ways, that are right for them, to be the best ‘dads’ they can be.

We need to examine, test and develop work to challenge the barriers to men accessing help and having positive engagement with their families. This is because we know that support and engagement of both dad and mum leads to improved mental health of each parent and outcomes for their children.

We support dads who may be lone or part of dual parent/carer families through home visits by volunteers who are recruited, trained and supported by paid staff in 32 Home-Starts.

Local Home-Starts also provide support via family and specialist groups, social events and excursions.

These avenues of support can be - but are not always - mutually exclusive.

Home-Starts support 100 families in Scotland where dad is the main carer (4% of total supported families). Sixteen of these families have dad as a lone parent.

There are 29 weekly family groups run by local Home-Starts with eight of these specifically being offered to dads and male carers.

“It’s a time and space to have fun with your children. The groups are all about creating opportunity for dads to engage – really engage – with their kids outside of the routines of daily life. This is not something every parent has the opportunity to do.

Ryan, Family Support Worker

Our commitment also extends to supporting male volunteers. They make a unique contribution in sharing their parenting insight during home-visits, encouraging dads to build their confidence.

Home-Start’s preparation courses and peer support programmes of one-to-one support and access to workshops, short courses and talks, help volunteers develop knowledge and make positive transitions to employment and new skill bases. Twenty male volunteers currently provide in-home family support and seven help with other aspects of local Home-Start activities such as groups, administration and communications.

Home-Starts in Dundee, Dunfermline, Glasgow South, Mid-Argyll, Cowal and Bute, are delivering and developing work that engages with men specifically. New in 2017 are additional pilot projects in Fife: engaging dads at Home-Start Glenrothes and Levenmouth.

The nature of engagement is shaped by the participants’ needs and interests. These range from reading and writing, arts and crafts, cooking, gardening, sport and outdoor play with their children.

The activity focuses on encouraging dads to spend time with their children, develop confidence and knowledge in parenting and to have the opportunity to talk to other dads and grow their own support network.

“If you don’t get the time now you’re not gonna get it when they’re older.

Willie

You can support our work with dads by sharing information about what we do on Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtags #whataboutdad and your own stories and reflections of what you learnt from your own father with the hashtag #dadtaughtme

Dads groups:

Home-Start Glasgow South

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The Home-Start with the longest-running focus on supporting dads, whcih runs two groups. Pilot funding was provided by Inspiring Scotland.

There are weekly groups in term time in Govanhill, in collaboration with Daisychain Early Years Project, and Gowanbank Primary school. These include opportunities for appointments with Money Matters for those needing financial advice.

To find out more click here to find Home-Start Glasgow South's contact information.

Home-Start Majik

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Weekly Buddy Buds groups in Kintyre and Bute with extra work being developed in Cowal. In addition to outdoor opportunities for buggy walks and meeting point ‘tea and chats,’ the group can join Home-Start Majik’s café project with access to visiting speakers.

To find out more click here to find Home-Start Majik's contact information.

Home-Start Dundee

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Dundee runs a weekly ‘Dads & Lads’ group and a family group where mums and dads attend together or dads come on their on their own.

The groups meet in the city-centre Home-Start and the dads group also meet in city parks for excursions.

This group, along with male volunteers, planned and launched its programme with a high profile community football match in August supported by local Dundee football clubs and legends.

To find out more click here to find Home-Start Dundee's contact information.

Dunfermline

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Home-Start Dunfermline launched its dads group in November 2016 after wide reaching scoping across Fife with input from other Home-Starts. Its dads group is a weekly get-together for dads with a programme of activity and light lunch.

To find out more click here to find Home-Start Dunfermline's contact information.

Glasgow North

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Home-Start Glasgow North is nearing completion of consultation period towards launching a pilot programme in 2017 with a weekly two-hour support group.

To find out more click here to find Home-Start Glasgow North's contact information.

Home-Start Glenrothes

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Home-Start Glenrothes launches its cookery and healthy eating group for dads group in March 2017 following a period of local community research and a focus group held with supported dads/male carers. The weekly group is a pilot programme held late afternoon in the local high school with optional free creche.

To find out more click here to find out Home-Start Glenrothes’ contact information.

Home-Start Levenmouth

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Dads supported by Home-Start Levenmouth are taking charge with messy play themed activities and  outdoor opportunities such as building an outdoor nursery and local excursions in a new weekly group running from Spring to Summer.

To find out more click here to find out Home-Start Levenmouth’s contact information.