A parenting group for young dads in North Shields has received a crucial cash boost.
Canny Dads aims to help fathers under 25 learn about the demands of being a good father, become more confident, and have fun together with their kids.
Isos Housing has awarded a grant worth £5,750 through its Community Investment Strategy to help Canny Dads pay for activities and trips for fathers and their children to local attractions.
The project was set up at the Phoenix Detached Youth Project in Chirton by youth worker Mike Burgess, who has worked alongside young dads for nearly 20 years.
Canny Dads gets fathers and their children together, so they can swap experiences, pick up tips from Mike and from each other, and become more confident, more capable parents.
Mike said: “I’ve found from experience, when a young woman has kids, she gets a lot of help, training and support.
“Often, the young woman’s own mother can take over the role of the dad, and young men get further away from looking after their own children.
“So we try to inspire dads to get involved. We try to get them together, offer a bit of advice, and help them learn from each other.
“Being a male worker, I can talk to the dads about doing things from a male perspective.”
Mike says Canny Dads can help with a range of needs – but to start with, it can be practical tasks where fathers need support.
“Some of the dads are not confident in changing a nappy, feeding their child, etc, so we can help develop those skills, to empower dads, to make them feel they can do what their children need,” he said.
“We try to improve young men’s ability to bond with their children, and have better relationships, to take more responsibility day-to-day and take stress away from mums.”
Sara Parker-Clark, from Isos, said: “Projects like Canny Dads make a real difference to their communities.
“We want to support our residents to lead successful lives, to help family stability, and so help communities to thrive.
“The Isos Community Investment Strategy is investing £1m over three years to help fantastic initiatives like this one to thrive, and improve people’s lives every day.”
Any young fathers in the North Shields area can get involved with Canny Dads – either contact Mike Burgess directly on 0191 258 5806 or drop into the Phoenix Detached Youth Project on Front Street in Chirton.