Focus on fathers: the story behind Who Let The Dads Out?
Tony Sharp unpacks the journey of Who Let The Dads Out?, which began in 2003 in Hoole, Chester ...
Tony Sharp of Who Let The Dads Out? explains what it’s all about …
What led you to set up your project?
Inspired by Malachi 4:6 and Luke 1:17, the project started in 2003 as a response to a need in one local community (Hoole, Chester) as expressed by young mums attending the midweek parent and toddler group. Some felt that their husbands and partners were not engaging in their role as fathers and indicated that this was causing significant family difficulties.
Alongside this we are aware that one in three couples split up within three years of having their first child, and many men then lose all contact with their children. The project started as a dads and toddler group and has grown from there.
What difference is the project making?
There are now more than 120 UK churches running groups and registered with us, with new groups joining every month. The project aims to strengthen families, reinvigorate communities and pass faith on down through the generations – and we are impacting the lives of 1800+ families every month.
Your biggest challenges?
As part of our aim is to ‘make ready a people prepared for the Lord’, it is to develop deeper friendships with the dads who come.
The greatest joys you’ve found?
The stories that confirm that Who Let The Dads Out? is “turning the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers”. Like Dave, who now prays regularly with his three boys, and makes an effort to go to church as a whole family.
What have you learned?
That God can do something amazing with a simple idea and a catchy title! And that given the right environment, and a breakfast bap, men will happily compare notes on parenting their children with other men.
Aims for the next few years?
We are hoping to see churches reaching out to dads as a societal and spiritual response to this so-called ‘Fatherless Generation’. We believe, in partnership with other projects, organisations and initiatives, it can have a nation-changing effect.
GET STUCK IN
Would you like a grant of £1,500-£3,000 to start a church-based community project? The Cinnamon Network is trying to make it as easy as possible for local churches to serve those people most at need in their communities. Get started at www.cinnamonnetwork.co.uk