Real lives: Fathers jump at chance to give back

The dads pose before their jump. Picture: Contributed
The dads pose before their jump. Picture: Contributed
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A GROUP of dads from Midlothian jumped from a bridge to raise awareness of the local support group from which they have benefited.

Charity Sure Start Midlothian launched its Lottery-funded Dynamic Dads group three years ago, with 20 local dads now benefiting from the two weekly sessions it holds.

On June 20, the day before Father’s Day, eight Dynamic Dads threw themselves off Garry Bridge in Killiecrankie – doing a 40ft bungee jump to raise money to promote the group to other Midlothian families.

Tim Porteus, fathers co-ordinator at Midlothian Sure Start, said: “The whole idea for the jump came from a discussion within the group.

“For a lot of the dads it was a big challenge, so it was kind of an example of what you can do if you have the motivation. It raised quite a lot of money. We had about 60 folk go up to Blair Atholl Castle for the jump nearby.

“It was a brilliant day, but a day on which some of the dads were very hesitant. One dad in particular only jumped as his kids shouted out, ‘You can do it, you can do it dad’, so he then jumped.

“The money raised goes towards the promotion of Dynamic Dads to try and get more dads involved. It’s important to reach dads.

“I was going to do it but couldn’t as I had to go back to the castle to help with the kids, but all the dads are saying, ‘No you bottled it!’ So I’m going back and they are all coming along to support me.”

Talking about the group’s work, Tim said: “For a lot of the dads it’s a vital lifeline for spending time with their kids. They bring their children along to our Saturday group and engage in activities with the kids. And we have a Thursday group learning about what their children’s needs are. They can all bring their parenting experiences into the group. They are building their confidence.

“They share problems, talk about things like bedtime routines and discipline. There are lots of mums groups and this is one of the rare groups just for dads. It gives them confidence as they can speak to other dads about parenting.

“We are particularly keen to get young dads in who might not feel confident about parenting. When they meet other young dads in the same position they realise they are not alone. A lot of the learning that takes place is between each other. As one dad put it, ‘We are just as good at parenting as mums’.

“They have started doing stuff outwith our group, which for us is a very good thing – that social aspect which mums usually build up.

“They are kind of taking control of it and creating these networks. Normally it is difficult to meet other dads; Dynamic Dads provides the opportunity for dads to engage socially as parents.”

The bungee jump has so far raised around £800. To donate, go to www.justgiving.com/dynamicdads.

KEVIN QUINN