Dadly Does It < Go back

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What they aim to achieve

Dadly Does It builds on our exploratory project in Little Hulton in Salford, whose aim was to find new ways to improve the wellbeing of disadvantaged fathers and to understand whether this can improve the wellbeing of their children.

What they do

The greatest underused asset in the lives of children and young people is fathers. Communities and child-related services and organisations tend to focus – and put most pressure – on mothers. Some largely ignore fathers.

In each neighbourhood, Dadly Does It focussed on ‘what’s strong, not what’s wrong’, and drew on the strengths, assets and hidden wisdom of communities. It used a ‘positive deviance’ approach.

The work started in Little Hulton in Salford in 2013. Over time, the number of dads increased: both those involved regularly and fully, and those more intermittently and peripherally. A core group of dads evolved, initially as a Council of Dadz. This eventually became a group, Salford Dadz - Little Hulton, that was constituted in 2015. 

Building on the learning from Little Hulton, Dadly Does It then ran in two other neighbourhoods, Winton (Salford) and Langley (Rochdale borough). 

The learning strongly suggests that improving the well-being of fathers from disadvantaged backgrounds can improve the well-being of their children. It also appears to have the potential to improve the quality of family relationships and to provide benefits to the well-being of partners and ex-partners. 

A quality-assured social return on investment study concluded:

  • in the professional judgement of the analyst, the social value created by the project is in the range of £1:£14 and £1:£20
  • £1 invested yielded approximately £20 of social value, of which the potential financial return to the public sector is:
  • £1 invested yielded at least £2.25 of potential savings in children’s services alone and
  • £1 invested yielded approximately £14 of value for the core fathers involved 

An ideal transformed approach would think at least as much about the role of dads within families and communities as about fathers within services. 

The learning from Dadly Does It has been recognised by positive fatherhood being included plans in Salford, Rochdale and Greater Manchester. 

Some initial practical steps have included a Speaking Dadly project on the role of fathers in the speech, language and communication of young people, and informing the research behind the BBC’s Tiny Happy People campaign.




Who to Contact

Chris Dabbs, Chief Executive on 0161 743 4502 or




Who invests in them

Dadly Does It is funded by the Lankelly Chase Foundation.