New group for expectant dads in Burntwood

childandolderhandsA new service is supporting expectant fathers in Burntwood ahead of the arrival of their children.

The new group-mentoring method of supporting fathers, called Hit the Ground Crawling, was set up by South Staffordshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) health visitors and Burntwood Community and Learning Partnership.  It gives first time dads access to information and support about pending births and what to expect after.

Hit the Ground Crawling involves small groups of expectant fathers spending an evening or afternoon with two or three fathers who have recently had babies, with those babies present. Staff trained by the Fatherhood Institute deliver advice and information, while fathers also get an opportunity to see dads caring for their children.

Health visitor Caroline Bullock, who co-runs Hit the Ground Crawling at Boney Hay Children’s Centre, said:

“The expectant fathers are simply given the opportunity to discuss their thoughts and concerns with other fathers who share their experience of fatherhood.”

The scheme was first set up by Fatherhood Institute in America and has been adapted in the UK. Health visitors and social workers in Burntwood have adapted the programme further by providing expectant mothers with an opportunity to get together as well as part of the traditional ante-natal classes.

Caroline added:

“The men meet in one room and the women get together in another. While the women get to share experiences they are also able to have their nails done or a massage, just a little pampering from Tamworth and Lichfield College because they deserve it!”

She said the scheme was part of a research trial from the Fatherhood Institute and a report would be published about its success after 12 months and added:

“Although we can’t predict the formal findings from the Fatherhood Institute the general consensus from first-time fathers who have taken part is that it is a success and they find it a really useful way of preparing them for what lies ahead.”

Deputy County Council Leader and Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Ian Parry said:

“Boney Hay Children’s Centre sits right at the heart of the community and is a base for family activities run by many different organisations. Hit the Ground Crawling has been very popular with local dads and staff at the centre are proud to be able to support them in what can be an exciting but daunting journey into fatherhood.”

Expectant parents wanting to find out more can contact their community midwife.

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