This week we talk to Errol Murray, founder of Leeds group ‘Leeds Dads’ on his plans for the fabulous Dadtastic Event on Sunday 19 June!
Dadstastic Day is a day of free family fun at Leeds City Museum on Father’s Day, 19 June between 11am-3pm.
There’s a wide range of activities for babies, toddlers and children aged up to 11 yrs old, creating opportunities for parents and carers to interact with their kids.
Children up to primary age can enjoy a huge range of activities including music, dance, science, storytelling, arts and crafts, and sport.
Learn to dance with professional tutors, belt your heart out at the Frozen Singalong, jump and dance at the BoomChikkaBoom Baby Rave, create crazy carnival masks, take part in wacky science experiments, or build and control a robot arm using a Raspberry Pi – and more!
This event is being hosted by Leeds Dads.
We are a voluntary organisation that brings together a diverse community of fathers for social interaction and support. We host playgroups for dads and kids, organise social events for dads and families, and provide information and expert parenting support. Leeds Dads is unique in our key aim of supporting fathers to actively engage with their children, and build lasting relationships
The idea of launching Leeds Dads came to me as a way of getting out of the house and doing something with my daughter beyond that one-handed push on the swings.
I was always working away when our daughter Rayya was born, and wanted to create more quality time with her, but didn’t know how.
Dads are still a bit of a rarity at playgroups, and I felt slightly awkward and out of place there. So I started Leeds Dads as a dads and kids playgroup in 2011 with just a handful of friends at Leeds City Museum Cafe.
One of the biggest challenges involved enrolling new dads.
I used to meet other dads in parks, children’s centres, A&E wards, and tell them about the group. Foolishly, I didn’t even have flyers. Some dads must have thought I was mad, but I met some of Leeds Dads’ longest standing members this way.
Dads aren’t always the best people to network.
Childcare, running a home and holding down a job can weigh heavy on both parents, but mums seem to be better at understanding these demands, and the importance of communication and support.
Some dads would come and be exhausted, not keen to talk. But they’d be back again and again.
This told me that a group was definitely needed, although I’ve had to work hard to make it what I think dads need.
The other key challenge is in staying relevant when you only see people once a month. After creating a local events newsletter for dads, I’m now working on building a network of dads groups/playgroups/support organisations held weekly across Leeds.
This would mean that any dads who attend one group could meet other people they know from other groups in the city, so not feel too daunted in being the only ‘new face’ in the room.