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BSB 806 015
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Building communities of Dads through the formation of Dads Groups

As fathers and father figures, it’s too easy to get lost in all aspects of our own lives and forget what our first job is; being a dad. Yet it’s the most important job we’ll ever do.

What we do, or don’t do as Dads, has an enormous impact on the happiness and health of the kids we love.

That’s why The Fathering Project is encouraging Dads across Australia to join or start a Dads Group.

The Fathering Project, an initiative founded in 2013 by Professor Bruce Robinson in Western Australia, aims to connect with fathers and father-figures, encouraging them to positively engage with the children in their lives – for the benefit of the kids.

The Project conducts research into societal trends and issues that impact fatherhood, and uses this to deliver programs and events as well as sharing tips and information that contribute to building positive relationships between dads and kids. On top of this, The Fathering Project prides itself on its ability to gather and connect men – and is increasingly doing so through events as well as online.

Dads Groups for better connections

Dads Groups are The Fathering Project’s core activity and are established within school communities across the country. The groups provide a safe, inclusive and positive environment where father-figures can learn, share, grow and connect with each other, and their kids.

Dads Groups are formed through schools, workplaces or community groups and aim to be fun, interactive and supportive. They provide a community of like-minded Dads to discuss and address the importance of being an involved and effective Father or Father figure to create better outcomes for their kids.

The key role of the Dads Group is to provide leadership and direction to the group of Dads, Fathers, Father figures, colleagues and support people, including Mums, and host activities within the community.

Some popular activities include biannual barbecues, event days, camping events and Dad catch-ups. The Fathering Project provide a list of event ideas and planning resources, available for Group Members.

Expanding nationally

The Fathering Project has announced it has secured support and financial backing for its national expansion program, allowing the program to expand into New South Wales and Victoria over the next five years.

The expansion will allow The Fathering Project to reach even more Australian families and children, impacting positively on social issues including mental health, family violence, substance abuse and general wellbeing.

Project CEO Wayne Bradshaw said the organisation was looking forward to increasing its impact on the present and future of Australia.

“We know, and the research shows, that an effective father-figure has a huge impact on a child throughout their youth and into adulthood,” he said.

The national expansion has been made possible by a $5.4 million federal government investment, representing one-third of the five-year budget.

The Fathering Project will fund the rest of the expanded operations through events, program fees, corporate sponsors and philanthropy and plans to roll out its core Dads Group program nationwide whilst building towards financial self-sufficiency over five years.

The federal funding was announced on January 10 by the Minister for Families and Social Services Paul Fletcher, who emphasised The Fathering Project’s preventative approach to social issues.

“Through initiatives like their Dads Group program, The Fathering Project takes a preventative approach that seeks to stop or reduce problems before they occur,” Mr Fletcher said.

Mr Bradshaw said the preventative approach was a key part of the Project’s philosophy.

“We turn off the tap rather than mopping up the water,” he said.

“If we can ensure kids have the best chance of a positive and stable upbringing then we can reduce the likelihood of adverse issues arising in childhood, through adolescence and into adulthood.”

Visit thefatheringproject.org to view online resources and tips or to find out more.

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