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Gloucestershire Dads

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Dad Matters Gloucestershire

Now open for referrals…


Dad Matters Gloucestershire exists to support dads to have the best possible relationship with their families.

We aim to:

  • Help dads have positive relationships with their families
  • Support dads with their wellbeing and mental health
  • Encourage dad’s participation in services that have traditionally been targeted for mums
  • Provide peer support for dads

The support is led by a Dad Matters Coordinator and volunteers known as “Dad Champions”. We are part of Dad Matters UK and belong to a large network that is successfully supporting dads within other Home-Start Schemes across Greater Manchester and Warrington.

Dad Matters Gloucestershire will recruit and train other dads to work as our volunteer Dad Champions to help support other dads throughout the county. We will also work closely with other professionals within Gloucestershire and nationally to better support dads in the first 1001 days of their parenting journey.

We provide this through a “Universal Offer” that supports Dads to access the following:

  • Antenatal and Postnatal classes/groups for dads
  • Outreach services/drop ins at maternity centres and community venues
  • Provide 1:1 peer support to dads.
  • Signpost and support dads to access services and information to help make sense of being a dad
  • Support dads with anxiety, stress and mental health awareness

Lee Houghton is our Dad Matters Coordinator for Gloucestershire. As this is a new, developing service within the county, we are in the early stages of the roll out.
Please note that due to the impact of Covid-19 and national lockdown restrictions, the services currently on offer are virtual, and as restrictions ease we will be developing our offer to see more dads face to face.


Perinatal Mental Health: Dad Chats

Dad Matters offers Dad Chats that are specifically designed to allow dads to talk about all aspects of their experience, mental health awareness, how to support their partner, awareness of conditions such as post-natal depression/post-partum psychosis etc. The sessions are led by Kieran Anders (Dad Matters UK Operations Manager) and Lee Houghton (Dad Matters Coordinator Gloucestershire) and we have peer support volunteers with lived experience of perinatal ill health that support us. The sessions are virtual and use a group format via Zoom.

The aim is to provide dads with a forum to share their experiences, have those experiences validated and receive guidance and support on how to navigate this crucial period of their life, as well as signposting to organisations and services that can best support them. The sessions are approx. 90 minutes long.

These sessions are designed to support dads who are supporting partners engaged in local Perinatal Mental Health Teams, or who are seeking support for themselves. it is not a public group, and access is through invitation only. Perinatal Teams can distribute the details as invitations, but all other services should speak to us directly with any queries. The perinatal mental health sessions for dads in Gloucestershire and can be booked onto by contacting the Gloucestershire Coordinator (Lee) directly.

In addition, Lee Houghton will be hosting an additional sessions to look at general wellbeing in the perinatal period, with a focus on attachement and bonding, mental health and access to services. This session can be booked via Dad Matters Gloucestershire and will be facilitated via Zoom.

Telephone Support

The project accepts referrals for one to one support of dads. This will be virtual and will take the form of an initial telephone discussion to collect information on the current situation of the dad and then to assess the support that can be offered. This can be via on-going telephone contact for a specific period of time and may also include advice on coping strategies, how to access IAPT services in Gloucestershire, as well as signposting to additional organisations and services, some of which may be local, whilst others are national.

Antenatal Groups

Dad Matters Antenatal sessions can be booked onto directly here:

Dad Matters Antenatal Sessions

The sessions are approx. 90 minutes, accessed via Zoom and free to all participants.

They run on the first and third Tuesdays at 7pm, and on the third Saturday at 11am.

In addition, we will be running a Dad Matters Gloucestershire group specifically for Gloucestershire dads. Contact us to find out more

Self-Referrals or enquiries can be made via telephone on 01453- 821340 or emailed to: dadmatters@homestartsd.org

You can also contact Lee Houghton our Dad Matters Coordinator directly on his mobile number 07515678454

Professionals can find our flyers, resources and referral forms here: dadmatters.org.uk/gloucestershire/dmg-referral-pack/

The Gloucestershire Team:

Meet Lee Houghton – Dad Matters Coordinator for Gloucestershire…

I’m Lee, 46 years young and currently living in Worcester in the UK, originally from “the North” and proud Daddy to my two boys who are the absolute centre of my universe.

I’ve spent most of my professional career managing residential children’s services that support children/young people who have suffered trauma/abuse and are looked after. I have seen first had the importance of having those strong, safe attachments for children.

Being a parent myself, I also know that it is the most thrilling, rewarding role I could ever have but one that is not without it’s muddles. I was no different than you.

So I am thrilled to join Dad Matters to help raise awareness of Dad’s being able to support their partners, develop their own attachment/bonding with their children and raise awareness of mental health concerns.

Home-Start Gloucestershire is a consortium of three local Home-Start charities that provide emotional and practical support to parents with at least one child under five years old. The consortium is made up of Home-Start North and West GloucestershireHome-Start Cotswolds and Home-Start Stroud and Gloucester. Between these three Home-Starts, families throughout the county are able to access help and support.

We are three independent charities affiliated to Home-Start UK, the UK’s leading family support charity. Our volunteers are all parents or have parenting experience, and are trained, supported and mentored to Home-Start UK standards.

Our aim is to provide early support to families who are facing the challenges and stresses of family life, including a wide range of difficulties such as isolation, low self-esteem, physical and mental health issues.

We work alongside parents in their own homes to help raise their self-confidence and their ability to cope in an increasingly pressured society. Our key emphasis is on parents helping parents.

We offer a unique service; recruiting and training volunteers who then go on to offer informal, friendly and confidential support to families at home who have at least one child under five.

To help give children the best possible start in life, Home-Start supports parents as they grow in confidence, strengthen their relationships with their children and widen their links with the local community.

Whilst all Home-Start schemes are guided by the same principles, each is an autonomous unit, individually registered with the Charities Commission, and with their own local management committee responsible for their own funding.

Home-Start Gloucestershire exists to facilitate some county wide projects involving all three of our local Home-Start charities.

Get in touch with your local Dad Matters Coordinator for Gloucestershire using this form…

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