Edinburgh dads baby class charity at risk of closure over funding threat

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A charity is calling for dads to attend their antenatal workshops in order to save the service after being unable to secure long-term funding.

Dads Rock has helped more than 300 people prepare for fatherhood by running blocks of classes in conjunction with NHS Lothian with resounding success.

Darren Ure said the Dad's Rock antenatal classes were invaluable ahead of the birth of his son Angus. ''Also pictured is his wife Amy Ure

Darren Ure said the Dad's Rock antenatal classes were invaluable ahead of the birth of his son Angus. ''Also pictured is his wife Amy Ure

The antenatal classes focus on what dads can expect in the delivery room, bathing newborns, changing nappies and advice for when the time comes.

Dads Rock had previously been funded by Big Lottery but this was not renewed in 2018/19. The charity approached the Scottish Government who agreed to a one-off funding of £50,000 to help in the sustainability of the service.

But the funding pot ran dry at the end of last year and a variety of grant applications have proved unsuccessful for the popular sessions.

Dads Rock co-founder Thomas Lynch admits the classes may have to be discontinued if the charity cannot access alternative sources of funding.

He told the Evening News: “NHS Lothian cannot now publicise the sessions because they’re not involved meaning we’re getting around six participants rather than 27 we had booked in February, which we were forced to cancel.

“There is not a lot out there that really focuses on dads and what to expect. The NHS Lothian ones are great but most focus more on the mums. Our classes bring together dads who are in a similar position and are in need of support.”

Dads Rock is continuing to host sessions once a month without the presence of an NHS Lothian midwife suggesting participants donate £10 to keep the service afloat.

Darren Ure, 35, says what he learned at the Dads Rock antenatal classes proved invaluable to him when his wife Amy gave birth to their son Angus two months early via an emergency C-section.

The gas supervisor from South Queensferry said: “It was an emergency situation and the advice from the classes meant I was able to keep calm and explain things to Amy who had no clue what was really happening.

“We had a mixture of sessions with and without NHS Lothian and I actually preferred the ones with Dads Rock because they were more relaxed and personal.

“I don’t know how I would have coped without Dads Rock. Thomas and the other dads taught me a lot and I was able to just stay focused and help Amy when I could thanks to the knowledge they shared with me. I felt prepared to be a dad after only a few sessions and it would be a huge shame to see others not get the same opportunity.”

Thomas says it costs £100 to put on a monthly workshop now and is spreading the word to encourage more future dads to come along to avoid the closure of the service.

“I want fathers to know that this service is available to them,” he said. “When we had kids we could not find anything for dads in Edinburgh. I want dads to know they can play a big role and have value during the pregnancy.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We want to make Scotland the best place in the world for children and young people to grow up. Encouraging and supporting fathers to play an active role in their child’s upbringing is key if we are to improve the health, wellbeing and life chances of Scotland’s children and young people.

“We provide funding to a range of national organisations working with fathers and families and in 2018/19 provided one-year funding to Dads Rock to help them invest in sustainability of their services.”