2021 – a year in the making!


What a year it’s been. We started 2021 with an ambition to reach more dads across Greater Manchester and to expand into other areas of the country. What we have achieved is nothing short of amazing.

Watch this space for more detailed info in the coming weeks, but for now, here’s some stats on where we’re ending the year!

– 10 paid Dad Matters staff members

– 7 Home-Start schemes running Dad Matters in their localities

– 15+ Dad Matters Volunteers (our Dad Champions) working in different areas across the country

– 1600+ dads spoken to directly by our staff and volunteers in antenatal and maternity settings and within our peer support groups and events

– 200+ dads referred in to the service for one to one work supporting their relationships with and understanding of their babies

– 1000+ perinatal professionals attending training with us or seeing us at team meetings.

– a new Dad Matters Support officer, employed to support us to get that important information out to dads.

– a new Maternal Mental Health Service peer support worker employed to support dads and con parents within the service to access support and referrals.

– we walked over 1000 miles in February, from our office at Home-Start HOST to Home-Start HOST in the Czech Republic

– we’ve been supported by many different fundraisers and events, including Iron Man, half marathons, football tournaments, sponsored events, donations, comedians (Justin Moorhouse and Jason Manford anybody?) and loads more – THANK YOU!

– We’ve worked with some amazing National agencies to promote our work and to raise awareness of the importance of dad’s mental health. These include GMP, The Institute of Health Visiting, NHS England, The First 1001 Days Campaign, The Brazleton Centre, Best Beginnings, various Universities including Liverpool, Manchester, Salford, Bolton and Central Lancs.

– we’ve worked with some inspirational organisations, supporting them to engage dads and guiding dads we meet towards their support. These include Just 4 Dads at Chads, Who let the Dads out, dadly does it, Dadvengers, Music Football Fatherhood, Dads Rock, Leeds Dads, Dad Pad, TeamDad, and loads of others! Keep doing what you’re doing people!

– we’ve celebrated lots of different themes over the year… Maternal Mental health week, international Fathers Mental Health Day, Baby Communication week, Infant Mental Health Week, Volunteer week and infant loss week to name but a few!

– we have worked with our Local Maternity Voices Partnerships to help dads and co-parents be heard in maternity services

– we have shared our story, our service and our ambitions with Dad Campaigners and advocates across the world, including in California, Europe, Australia and Wales (watch this space on the Welsh news)

– we have connected with and supported some truly inspirational people, including our own dads and bloggers, Mark Williams – the Godfather of paternal mental health, Andy Mayers, Douglas Guest, Scott Mair, Errol Murray, Tom Lynch, and a range of others…

– we’ve had Yoga classes, walk and talks, sponsored walks, city em centre meet ups, baby groups, toddler groups all for dads!

– we’ve delivered volunteers training in Greater Manchester, Gloucestershire and Warrington

– we even have a Dad Matter stall on Ashton Market where we can meet dads and families, and also host other services and professionals

– as part of the wider GM perinatal Mental Health Pathway team, we were nominated for a prestigious HSJ award for innovative and collaborative working.

– we’ve done outreach and pop up shops at various locations, including maternity units in Bolton, Manchester, Wythenshaw, North Manchester, Gloucestershire.

– we’ve been supported, as a Hone-Start project, by John Lewis and Waitrose, Foot Asylum, BT, Swansway Motors and lots of other corporate partners

– On a personal note, we lost the man who inspired me (kieran) to be the dad I am and to support other dads. It was a massive blow, but he lives on in the work I do everyday to help babies and children have better relationships with their own dads! Thankyou to everyone I work with who have helped me through this massively! You are legendary!

I’d also like to thank everyone who has made our journey possible, but in particular, Pat McKelvey and Dr. Pauline Lee – who have both shown vision, innovation, leadership and guidance that has meant we have grown as a service, developed a shared understanding of what dads and co-parents need from perinatal services and most of all a belief in ourselves that what we are doing is valuable to families and to the professionals working with them!

– we have had some laughs too. There is such a great camaraderie in the team. The WhatsApp group is a sea of memes and jokes, but also it’s sometimes a crutch, where we can share our challenges without fear of judgement.

What next?

– how bout some more Dad Matters Schemes for starters?

– more volunteers

– more outreach

– more walk and talks and events

– more blogs and stories and experiences being shared

Dad Matters UK – where good men come to try!