NEW DADS across Hyde and Denton are being offered the chance to play a bigger role in their child’s early years thanks to a new group.
Dad Matters is working closely with ante-natal groups across Greater Manchester as it spreads.After starting in Tameside, the group is spreading across all 10 boroughs to make sure fathers-to-be and new fathers’ roles are not overlooked.
It also tries to help ease the worries any future fathers may have, working with them and involving any agencies that are needed.
After being impressed by the work of the organisation, which was founded two-and-a-half years ago by Kieran Anders, Mic Cullen has joined as its first co-ordinator.
“I followed Dad Matters from when my wife was pregnant and it’s evolved from there,” said the man tasked with growing its presence in the area.
“I had a passion for it and the role jumped out at me. Now I’m recruiting, managing and training volunteers for the group.
“There’s different meetings around the area where we promote good mental health for dads.
“We go to ante-natal groups and classes and try and get hold of dads as early as we possibly can to get them thinking of how they’ll be when baby arrives. Also, if they have any worries or concerns.”
Dad Matters founder Kieran Anders, who has worked with hundreds of men, added: “It feels like new dads are overlooked a bit at times, often as they make sure mum and baby are well.
“That’s OK. It’s all right for us to say, ‘You might feel left out as that’s how it is.’ But your mental health and responsibility for care giving is really important.
“Dad Matters covers the whole of Greater Manchester and we hope to be at every ante-natal class in the future.
“We do the universal stuff on babies’ development and mental health and how it’s linked but we can also do more targeted work, like drop-ins for dads whose babies are on newborn intensive care units, in units where mothers are suffering from mental health issues and teen dads.
“From working just in Tameside, we built up a picture of what dads want in what’s called the perinatal period, from conception to being two-years-old.
“Eighty per cent of babies’ brains develop in the first two years, so it’s critical we get dads to understand their role in that development.”
Dad Matters is part of the Home-Start HOST – which stands for Oldham, Stockport and Tameside – group.
As well as the many volunteers that give up their time to work with them, its team also includes members of staff at the Tameside Early Attachment Service (NHS) with links to midwifery, health visiting, mental health services and voluntary sector organisations across Greater Manchester.
Home-Start chief executive Sarah Cook said: “Home-Start has supported families with young children in Tameside and Oldham for years.
“However, our support has largely been taken up by mums so it has been great to develop our Dad Matters programme to make sure dads also get the support and information they need.
“We are really glad to have Mic on board and working with Kieran so we can benefit even more dads and their families.”
• Dads or dads-to-be can look at what Dad Matters do on its pages on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or its videos on YouTube.
Its website – www.dadmatters.org.uk – is split into individual areas of Greater Manchester and women can also volunteer through Home-Start.
Anyone interested in volunteering can email Kieran at email@example.com