Dad Matters, a Home-Start Oldham Stockport and Tameside project, works across Greater Manchester to support Dads during their child’s early years. We help to support wellbeing and access to services.
Many Dads feel left out of the parenting process from an early stage. The project helps Dads to understand this, to become more involved and to understand their role in early parenting.
Birth to age two is a crucial stage in baby’s development and Dads and Partners play a vital role in this through their relationships, interaction and responsiveness.
Dad Matters Volunteers (or Dad Champions) usually host Dad Chat groups within antenatal classes or during outreach in antenatal and postnatal clinics. Due to social distancing measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dads can no longer be reached in person at clinics.
Dad Matters have moved services online, with a Dad Chat LIVE on Facebook every Wednesday at 6pm, with discussions around baby’s development, consoling, sleep, parents wellbeing and accessing services.
The team leading the project have identified a way that they can still reach Dads in person, whilst complying with social distancing guidelines.
Currently Dads aren’t able to be with their partners/spouses during antenatal appointments, or sometimes during the first stages of labour but still want to be close to offer support. This has led to a number of Dads waiting outside maternity centres or in their cars.
Dad Matters have been working with Maternity Services in Bolton to develop a solution to engage with Dads at such a pivotal time, and have developed the pilot of pop-up stalls.
The mobile stall will be located outside maternity centres, following all social distancing and hygiene guidelines and will be manned by experienced and approachable staff and volunteers. Dads will be able to discuss any aspect pregnancy, birth and beyond with the team, access useful information and can be signposted to additional services if appropriate.
Kieran Anders, Dad Matters Project Manager said: “We’ve always known that to reach Dads with those crucial messages about early relationships and mental health, we need to go to them. This innovative way of meeting Dads during such unfathomable challenges means more will get those messages, understand their role and be able to find support when they need it.”
Sarah Cook, CEO of Home-Start Oldham, Stockport and Tameside said “Our Dad Matters team have always been creative in thinking about how best to reach out to and support dads and it’s never been more crucial to apply that creativity to thinking about how to reach out to dads than working with them during Covid-19. We hope that the pop-up shops will show dads that we are still thinking about them and that we are still here to provide support and information to them on their own mental health and to help their relationship with their baby get off to the best possible start.”
Natalie Patterson, Specialist Perinatal Mental Health Midwives’ Team Leader, said;
“We know this is a difficult time for everyone due to the COVID 19 restrictions. As a maternity service we have been very aware that dads are missing out on being present during appointments, scans and the early hours and days after birth. Whilst this is necessary to ensure safety of patients and staff we want to acknowledge how hard this is for families expecting a baby.
Dads are so important in supporting their partner and also being a part of the pregnancy and birth of their baby and those early days of life; the current restrictions have had a big impact on this.
With this in mind we wanted to ensure that we were able to display information specifically for dads, that is relevant and accessible.
We are delighted that the great work that Dad Matters does has been able to continue here at Bolton by facilitating the Pop Up Shops outside the maternity unit. This is a fantastic way to reach dads who are waiting outside the hospital without compromising safety”.
There is a plan to soon extend this service to other hospitals in the region; starting with Salford, Rochdale and Tameside.
If you’d like to find out more or volunteer for Dad Matters please contact Kieran Anders, Dad Matters Project Manager, on 07713196391 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit our website: www.dadmatters.org.uk and follow us on social media: @dadmattersuk
Next Pop Up Shops confirmed for Wednesday 10th June and Friday 12th June 1-4.30pm