Edinburgh charity gets cash for new Dads support group

An Edinburgh charity supporting Dads has been awarded cash by the council to set up a new support group.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 4:55 am

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Community project Dads Rock has been awarded £1400 from a neighbourhood grant to run a peer support group for new Dads in Craigmillar and Portobello.

Restrictions on health services and groups getting together have made things harder for new parents, Dads Rock said.

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Thomas Lynch and his son Ollie

But they hope the new group will stop new Dads feeling isolated. The sessions started on 9 June and will run every fortnight for six months.

Thomas Lynch, Service Manager said: “There’s a lot of concern just now as some small, informal groups are still not taking place. Our new group will be about Dads meeting each other outside, playing sports, having a chat. We hope Dads can come along and feel relaxed. That first couple of years after a baby is born is so important but there can be so many gaps in the help available. I’ve heard from one Dad worried that his 7 month old hadn’t been around other kids.”

"We are excited to get this going as it’s the first group for dads with little ones. As far as we know it’s the only Dads perinatal support group in Scotland. Peer support is vital. We hope this will help lead the way. It’s a small amount of funding to help get it off the ground but we hope to build it up and expand the group.”

“Not being able to see health professionals has been hard on parents. Services are doing what they can but many have fallen by the wayside. As much as you can provide online help, many things just don’t make sense online. Parents can get lost and younger ones especially can feel really isolated.”

Founded in 2012 Dads Rock offers antenatal classes, first aid training, music lessons and monthly excursions, as well as one-to-one mentoring for young dads aged 25 or under.

The charity aims to help all dads to feel supported and valued, recognising the positive knock-on effect this has on Dads and their families.

Kevin, from Clermiston, said having a baby during lockdown was tough.

The 28-year-old said: “Having Elsie is a joy. It’s electric, this little person holding your finger. You feel pure love.

"It’s been hard too. We’ve been cut off from so many people. It put a big distance between us and the rest of the world and added to the isolation. And there’s been a fear too, just of going out to shops because we still don’t know the effects of the virus on a newborn. It’s been frightening to cope with these big unknowns.

"Then I had a lot of my own worries. What if I am not a good enough Dad? Being cut off from people and usual activities ate away at my confidence. I get a lot of that from social contact. So a lot of my life has been missing for a whole year. I struggled with that. A lot of services are focused on mums, which I get.

"Speaking to other Dads about how they get involved and take stuff off mums plate has been helpful. Having that space and hearing things from their perspective has made all the difference.”

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