Friday 25th February, 2022

Supporting young fathers

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As well as supporting teenage mums through the work of our Young Parents Programme, Romsey Mill also provides vital help for young dads (up to the age of 25).

 

Lee Nash, Romsey Mill’s Young Fathers Development Worker, shares a story with you of the impact of this work:

When we first met, Finley* (*not his real name) was a single dad living in a flat with his daughter who is in his full-time care. He was unemployed and claiming Universal Credit. He had considered part-time work but had limited childcare options.

When I first met with Finley, his flat had mould and damp issues and he was considering whether to move. He needed some furniture for his flat and one of his appliances had broken. Finley relied heavily on his mum for childcare and general support and didn’t know any other young dads. He had a complex relationship with his daughter’s mum and was responsible for supervised visits.

Although his daughter attended nursery, Finley was reluctant to leave her in other professional childcare environments as this was a cause of anxiety for him.  At times, he struggled to manage his finances, which left him borrowing money from family.

Finley was referred to Romsey Mill by Social Care. I contacted him over the phone, and we arranged to meet in person. He began attending weekly meetings with me and we regularly communicated via texts, calls and social media. I invited Finley to join our Healthy Eating on a Budget course and spoke of the health and financial benefits of gaining these skills. Finley attended the cooking sessions and engaged well with the practical and written work, as well as with his peers. He spoke of how he enjoyed the cooking course and had approached it with an open mind.

“I’ve now got a good group of mates thanks to the dads’ group; so it’s made a good difference.” Finley*

I have supported Finley in overcoming some of his anxiety about using childcare facilities. He soon managed to pluck up the courage to leave his daughter with the childcare support provided by Romsey Mill whilst he was on the cooking course. As a result, his daughter thrived in the environment and positively engaged with the staff and babies present. This also meant that Finley did not need to be so reliant on his mum for childcare support during the sessions.

I encouraged Finley to attend the weekly dads’ group at Romsey Mill as it would give him the opportunity to connect with other dads of a similar age. This group is set up to be a space for them to connect with other young dads, access support and socialise.

Finley began attending the weekly group at Romsey Mill Centre and quickly formed connections with the other dads. He has often shared how beneficial the dads’ group is for him in providing respite and an opportunity to get out of his flat.

We discussed certain job options and I supported Finley in looking for work and creating a CV. Finley became proactive in looking for work and managed to get a trial working in a kitchen as well as finding part-time work through a previous employer.

“One-to-one with Lee has made a difference. Just having someone to talk to and offer support and help with other things.” Finley*

I contacted the housing department to help resolve issues in Finley’s flat, and Finley showed initiative in tackling the mould issue himself. I’ve also helped him assess his finances and consider what things were priorities and luxuries.

Together, we explored different options for Finley’s broken appliance and obtained quotes for repairs. Again, Finley took the initiative and managed to replace his broken appliance whilst being wise with his finances. He identified his furniture needs and I contacted a local charity who were able to supply what he needed.

Throughout this time, Finley has been able to maintain healthy relations with his daughter's mum whilst establishing some boundaries advised by Social Care. He continues to engage weekly with me and the dads' group.

 

*names have been changed