Dads, Lads and Lasses On Children In Need

A charity which offers the opportunity for Dads to enjoy proper quality time with their children is to feature on this year’s BBC Children In Need appeal.

Dads, Lads and Lasses received a grant of £15,000 from the Steve Morgan Foundation and has also been supported by Children In Need, which is now going to feature the charity as part of this year’s programme on November 16th.

The group, which operates out of St Leonard’s Youth and Community Centre in Bootle, was founded in 2008 and became a registered charity in 2016.

Mike Joliffe, from Dads, Lads and Lasses, explains more.

“Dads, Lads and Lasses is a male-led group for Dads and positive role models to come in and spend some quality time with their children – just to be a great Dad!” says Mike.

“It doesn’t mean that they weren’t great Dads before, but we just try to offer opportunities that maybe aren’t often out there for Dads to get involved in activities together.

“Trying to engage and retain Dads is one of the more difficult things for groups to do, and we have some Dads that dip in and out of the group but have now got a good number that will come along regularly.

“We have Dads who have really turned themselves around, hard-working Dads who might not get too much quality time with their children, or Dads who have split with their partners – they all really value these two hours in the week.

“We put on a variety of activities, from cooking together, to the Dads building esteem by leading activities, to going out and about on many different trips.

“And that is a key part of what we do, installing one of our main values, which is resilence.

“We want to expose the children and the Dads to challenges and activities, either on-site or outside, that can accelerate their social skills and the educational side.

“I am constantly looking to add new challenges to the programme, and we have done mountain climbing, winter walking, winter camping, and we will swim anywhere, in any lake or sea!

“But it is not about being a children’s charity – it is for the Dads who can be there and be part of their child’s moment, it is their network.

“It is about getting together and being role models, and we have Grandads attending and Step Dads attending – the key is for men to come in and enjoy quality time with the children they are responsible for.”

For a long time Mike was having to add in many voluntary hours on top of his ‘day job’ as a teacher.

But the funding from organisations like the Steve Morgan Foundation and Children in Need helped him to put the charity on a secure footing, not to mention expanding their activities.

“First and foremost, the Steve Morgan Foundation have been absolutely brilliant for us,” he explains.

“There are people at the end of the phone who are always there to give me direction and advice.

“The funding has been brilliant as well, and with that and Children In Need, we have really been able to grow the audience that knows about us.

“We have been able to spread our wings further and visit places which we couldn’t previously consider.

“We are exposing the children to places in this country they would never have been able to get to without Dads, Lads and Lasses.

“Children In Need called me up a few weeks ago as they had been following out story on social media.

“We met up and did some filming with them which was fantastic, and should be seen on this year’s programme on November 16th.”

The filming tool place at a special event at Crosby Marina, with the group also welcoming a VIP guest in the form of WBA British and Commonwealth Super-lightweight boxer Robbie Davies Junior.

Robbie took part in football and dodgeball sessions with the children and young people, as well as providing some top tips on boxing exercises.

And, while Dads are very much the priority when it comes to Dads, Lads and Lasses – as the name suggests – that’s not to say that females are completely overlooked!

“We are a completely unique club in the fact that it’s for males, run by males, for Dads, but of course they bring their daughters as well as sons!” says Mike.

“And we also embrace the family side, twice a year holding residentials in Yorkshire where the Dads are allowed to bring their wives or partners.

“So that is when Mums can come along and see, ‘what all the fuss is about’, from their children, who are constantly talking about Dads Club!”

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