“Not seeing my daughter made me feel low within myself, what had gone on between myself and my ex-partner meant that I felt alone, on my own and that I was the only one going through this problem and so I turned to drugs and alcohol as a means of blocking things away.
“Salford Dadz helped me tackle this feeling of isolation, I didn’t feel that I was alone anymore, I had people around me that were also going through difficult situations, and so this group helped me to not only come out of myself but also helped with the fact that I can now speak and be able to give my experiences to others on how to cope.”
Anthony Wright is just one of the Dadz that has benefitted from a support network, created by dads and for dads. Salford Dadz was established in the Little Hulton area of Salford in 2013 to find new ways of improving the wellbeing of disadvantaged fathers and to help discover whether by improving their own health and wellbeing, that this would have a positive impact on their children.
Following the group’s initial formation in 2013, a 12 month pilot funded by NHS Salford Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) Innovation Fund via local social enterprise, Unlimited Potential followed throughout 2014 and 2015, which led to the group growing and developing.
Using a ‘positive deviance’ approach, the project has created both male-friendly spaces where positive role models talk openly ‘shoulder to shoulder’, as well as offering fun father and child activities that enable bonding.
“There are dads within the group with a variety of skills and knowledge bases, which is a good thing to have in a group of our nature. Some have the advantage of the knowledge and where to seek information. Others have the knowledge of the strength and how to deal with issues” explainsAnthony.
Salford Dadz unique and hugely successful support network led to the group winning the Small Community Group Award at the 2015 Heart of Salford Awards and the project has proven so successful in Little Hulton that the next steps are to branch out into the district of Winton and beyond, with the LankellyChase Foundation, a London based organisation that focuses on the underlying causes of severe and multiple disadvantage and how to then address these causes, keen to see if this support network could work nationally.
Heather Henry, project manager at Unlimited Potential said:
“As a health professional, I was taught to care for and look after people, and the work with Salford Dadz has taught me that every father that I have met has gifts and strengths and is an expert in his own community.
“What these fathers have done is a great source of local pride.”
Dr. Mhairi Yates, a GP in Salford and clinical lead for innovation and research at Salford CCG said:
“The work done by the Salford Dadz is incredible, and I am very proud that we were able to provide the funding in their early days, which has enabled them to flourish today.
“I have every confidence that the group is going to continue to go from strength to strength. I would encourage any fathers out there who are feeling the pressure and need that support to get in touch with them.”
For more information on Salford Dadz visit their Facebook and Twitter pages.