Birmingham: centre encourages hard-to-reach Dads

From staying and playing to mixing fruit smoothies, the role of Dad should be celebrated daily. That's the Fathers' Day message from Anthony Road Children's Centre  in Birmingham.

"Fathers' Day is very important but we need to look beyond the cards and presents on this one day," said Aggie Kent, Operational and  Deputy Children’s Centre Manager at Anthony Road. "Many Dads need encouragement and advice to fulfill the role effectively throughout the year."

Children's centres are often perceived as the preserve of female  workers but the Anthony Road Children’s Centre in Birmingham has a  full-time male worker, Sham Hussain, whose remit includes engaging  with fathers in the area. On average, Sham will see some 40 each week,  helping them finding work or training courses. For many, English is   not a first language so he will help them in this area as well.

All week, in the run-up to Fathers' Day, Men’s Health days have   taken place in three local schools. Dads have been shown how to make   healthy, fruit-based smoothies, received a BMI (body mass index)   check and full information on healthier life styles. Free radio- operated pedometers have been offered to the first 10 Dads to turn up!

"Many Dads are hard to reach, but can play a vital role in their  children's development," said Aggie Kent. "Mums are traditionally seen as the major focus for child-rearing but we encourage Dads to take their children to nursery, attend stay-and-play sessions and get   involved in their children’s lives. It can make a real difference to both father and child."

Anthony Road Children’s Centre is a Surestart and Spurgeons project. Spurgeons, a Christian charity, has several projects in the UK and abroad which include children's centres and young carers,  bereavement and parenting projects.

Spurgeons was founded in 1867 when Anne Hillyard, a London widow,  read an article by famous Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon   and donated £20,000 to found an orphanage for fatherless boys.

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