Welcome to Dads House
There are currently over 2 million non residential dads in the UK and over 200,000 raising their children alone.
In London alone there are 20,000 dads who are the main carers for their children.
We have seen a huge change in society and these figures are expected to rise dramatically in the next 5 years.
After raising his own son from an early age, William realised that there was very little support for fathers.
Although there was a number of organisations available to help parents, there was no support for the practicle side, no one to meet up with for a coffee and chat, people that would have an understanding on their struggles.
It was Billy's dream create a charity that could offer the support needed by single dads.
Since Dads House launched in 2008, our reputation has grown within many organisations, local authorities and the UK Government, who often contact Dads House to help with various topics.
In 2013 Dads House launched in Kent. Our 5 year plan going forward is to have Dads House branches accross th UK, enabling us to help and support as many single fathers as possible.
Firstly, DadsHouse did well to get free tickets to the Dinosaurs in the Wild Show, which was greatly enjoyed by Mel and children. It sounds fabulous, fun and informative. Mel wrote that:
‘The Dinosaurs in the Wild show is a great experience. We were welcomed in quite a non-descript waiting area, which was reassuringly staid, given what was coming next. The transition towards the time machines was a great way to feel part of an adventure story, and the children particularly enjoyed this, as it reminded them of holidays and theme parks, but the blend of interactive exhibits, robotic dinosaurs, live action and great 3D effects gave a sense of being on a Jurassic Park film set. Getting into the actual dinosaur base was very engaging, the actors all playing very similar roles to scientists and zoo keepers, and made it far more interactive and provided some very funny moments with the dinosaurs.
The labs were an absolute gem with dinosaurs being an amazing area, and it was great for the children to see close-up what seemed like a baby dinosaur, moving across the exploration base was a great way to learn about dinosaurs and for the children to sense how different and powerful dinosaurs were. The final part takes your group to the lookout at the top of the exploration base, where you watch as the dinosaurs become ever more dangerous and culminates in being evacuated underneath a giant sea creature and into escape time travelling pods.
Overall, a great experience for dinosaur fans of all ages’.
Secondly, Domy and I are very lucky to be going away on holiday and this has got me thinking about holiday periods for single dads and mums and how childcare and activities can be such issues and so expensive. I work full time and childcare for Domy costs a lot. Childcare costs have risen faster than wages, when many of us depend on childcare to work or study. For many single dads and mums cuts to Tax Credits and other benefits have also made childcare costs an even greater issue.
We all know that activities are generally getting more expensive. Research shows that the cost of raising a child to the age of 21 has reached over £230,000, a 65% increase since 2003; with ‘average parents’ spending £70,000 for childcare and babysitting alone, over £16,000 on holidays and almost £17,000 on hobbies and leisure activities.
So, do you look forward to the school holidays, feel anxious as to how you will afford them, or a mix of both? We would really welcome your views and experiences and tips for free things to do.
Thank you for reading and I hope that you enjoy the remaining sunshine.
But onto more serious matters, this time money and finances. Lone parents have not done well financially under the current government, although obviously we all are in different financial situations, with some struggling more or less than others.
Research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation reveals that over 2 million lone parent families are living on incomes below what they need for a decent standard of living and that in fact almost three quarters of lone parent households live below that standard. This is saddening, staggering and surely must be challenged and changed as a matter of priority?
Further research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation proposes that a lone parent with a preschool child has to earn £28,450 to reach a minimum socially acceptable standard of living in the UK. This is a significant wage! Just one more damming statistic, this is that a lone parent working full-time on the minimum wage in 2008 with help from tax credits had a disposable income just £520 a year short of their needs. Following almost a decade of tax credit cuts under the previous coalition and current governments lone parents in this situation are about £3,640 a year short of their needs. This is a lot of money to be short of a basic living standard with your child(ren). Frustratingly, there is enough money in the UK as a whole to easily rectify this.
Living in poverty or struggling financially can have many affects for families, be they two parent, lone mother or single father families. This includes beyond the obvious and demanding issues of trying to get enough food to eat, pay the rent and afford the basics. It can stimulate feelings of shame, powerlessness and alienation that can make a parent feel like they are failing their child(ren) and socially inferior. When you add in that being a single father or mother can come with stigma, feeling different and social exclusion, this can be so very difficult to cope with each and every day.
DadsHouse are currently doing some fantastic work, with food banks, support with accommodation and a buddying service. But without taking away from this fantastic support is this a sticking plaster for a much bigger wound? What do you think needs to change so that all of us as single parents can be financially safe and secure and our children can have enough to flourish and blossom?
Finally, do you worry about money and wonder where you can get help? If the answer is yes please come forward for support, as at DadsHouse you will not be judged or made to feel ashamed.
Thank you for reading and take care everyone!
I am writing this blog with the sun shining down in sunny Wales; I hope that you are getting a bit of sunshine too wherever you are! My son is adoring this weather and we agree that cycling in the sun is fantastic.
So, I have been doing what is called a literature review for an article that I am writing on social work practice with single fathers. Without getting too boring, this is basically looking around for what other people have written on this subject, which is very little.
As part of this, I have come across some research from the USA that I would like to briefly talk about. There is no equivalent research here in the UK. This research looks at demographic data about single fathers, so for example ethnicity, age, income etc. They found that the number of single father households in the USA has increased about ninefold since 1960, to more than 2.6 million in 2011.
I found one area really interesting and feel it would be great to have views on this. This is what a single father is and who describes this? Single fatherhood is not a straightforward term, rather its definition is used in different ways by different people in different contexts. The research article from the USA sees single fathers as fathers who are separated, divorced, widowed or never married and are living without a partner; or some fathers living with a partner they are not married to, or some fathers who are married but living apart from their wife. This all seems very complicated and a little confusing.
They found that about 60% of single fathers in the USA are not living with a partner, meaning that about 40% are. What do you think? Does this fit with your views of who single fathers are? What defines us as a group?
In the UK, official definitions of single/lone parents focus on parents who care for a child or children with no husband, wife or partner living with them. This is quite different as some 40% of single fathers counted in the USA research would not be counted under this definition. Again, rather confusing and unclear.
For me, this is all quite important. The point is that for single fathers to be recognised and supported there needs to be some agreement about who we are as a group, and our collective and individual strengths and needs. Until this happens, our unique identities and needs may be missed or not fully acknowledged. Please let me know what you think.I am writing this blog with the sun shining down in sunny Wales; I hope that you are getting a bit of sunshine too wherever you are! My son is adoring this weather and we agree that cycling in the sun is fantastic.
Take care all
Dads House Dads & Kids Breakfast club is held every Saturday 9am to 11am
Worlds End Under 5's Centre
18 Blantyre Street
Come along and meet other dads, Let the Children play and take part in many of our fun activities whilst enjoying breakfast and a hot beverage, Since we relaunched the breakfast club in Jan 2018, we have welcomed over 100 Dads and their children.