Fathers call for more groups for dads

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Fathers told the Equal Opportunities Committee there needed to be more support and groups specifically for dads.

The committee is looking into the experiences of fathers as parents..

It intends to identify the key challenges they face in day-to-day life and the quality of support currently available to them.

The focus of the inquiry is the provision of services and support groups; societal attitudes towards lone and unmarried fathers; and issues around parental rights and responsibilities for fathers.

Peter McGhee, Allan Reddick and Norman Fraser run a dad's group in Hamilton, having felt unwelcome or uncomfortable at some groups dominated by mothers.

The dad's toddler group was launched and is supported by SPELL, Support for Play and Early Learning in Lanarkshire.

Mr McGhee highlighted the benefit of networking with other fathers but stressed the groups required funding.

It was not the council, but mothers who were discriminatory against him according to Mr Reddick and the dad's group meant his relationship with his kids was "so much better now".

Mr Fraser said attending the dad's group in Hamilton allowed him to spend quality time with his children in a "safe and relaxed environment".

Kenny Drysdale and Victor Quested also gave evidence.

Issues that arose included the prohibitive cost of childcare, the need for professional people to work with parents in the best interests of the children after separation and the discrimination against lone fathers.

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