IT’S FATHER’S Day every month for two Rugby dads – who are looking for more male volunteers to help run their stay-and-play sessions.
Volunteers Dylan Watt and Gavin Lewis set up SaturDads – a monthly stay and play session just for dads – four years ago.
The group, part of the Rugby Borough Children and Family Centres run by children’s charity Barnardo’s, has since grown in popularity – and the pair are now encouraging more dads to get involved.
Gavin said: “When I moved to Rugby I would attend stay-and-play groups with my son, and I was often the only dad there.
“Although the mums were very friendly, I did sometimes feel a bit of a ‘sore thumb’ and so I discussed the idea of setting up a group for dads with Barnardo’s.
“I was put in touch with Dylan and with Barnardo’s support, SaturDads was created. When the group started we didn’t know if anybody would come along, but we had a very good turnout, and it’s been great to see the group growing since then.
“SaturDads isn’t just a place where dads can spend time with their children and chat to other dads, but it also normalises the idea that dads can get more involved in parenting.”
A visitors to SaturDads said: “Gavin and Dylan are outstanding, making everyone welcome and encouraging friendly play and swapping stories between the dads.
“We had a great time at SaturDads, there was loads to do and a lovely atmosphere.”
Barnardo’s Volunteer Coordinator Nicola Sharpe said she was extremely proud of Dylan and Gavin’s hard work and commitment to male carers in the community.
She said: “They have both juggled the pressures of working from home, caring and home schooling their young families while still maintaining their commitment to SaturDads during the pandemic.
When asked to consider a virtual SaturDads, both were in agreement and happy to step out of their comfort zone. They offered the virtual coffee morning on a fortnightly basis as a safe space for male carers to connect while our centres were closed.
“Now that they are able to offer a group in the centre again, it is still extremely popular.”
Dylan added: “We are really keen to hear from more male volunteers. Often when you discuss the time commitments it’s not as significant as you’d think. A little bit of time can make a big impact.”
The group runs on the second Saturday of each month from the Claremont Children’s and Family Centre in Rugby.
Email [email protected] for more information.