The Dad Network Norfolk
Article by Tom at: seewhatmummysays.com
Traditionally, we’re used to local village halls, community centres and even some public houses offering mother and baby sessions, but this is 2017 and there’s a new group in town.
‘The Dad Network’ is a national collection of county wide groups, initiated by AJ Ferguson.
Norfolk’s network began life at the end of 2016 and is already the largest of the Dad Network communities in the country, attracting nearly 400 members to the Facebook group.
The group is run by three admins, or ‘Dadmins’ as they prefer to be called, Paul, Isaac and Nathan. One of the biggest challenges for any father is facing the feeling of isolation. A lot of emphasis is put on mum and baby, and rightly so of course…but we mustn’t forget the dads.
As part of the group you have the opportunity to interact as much or as little as you like, often learning that you’re not the first to have experienced a particular situation. Made up of doting dads, stepdads and dads to be, the group provides support, solace and encouragement.
The network is completely non-profit, and Nathan tells us the ‘Dadmins’ simply do it to ‘bring dads together’ and to give others the opportunity to ‘make new friends, and appreciate that they’re not alone’.
There are no monthly fees or hidden costs. Each member simply pays their own admission cost to each event, often successfully negotiating group discounts. So, what does the future hold for Norfolk’s Dad Network? Having already run popular outings to Hulabaloos and Melsop Farm, the Dinosaur Adventure Park is the next event in the diary. Also in the diary for 2017 are High Lodge at Thetford Forest, Tots Town, and Bewilderwood to name just a few.
In addition to the events that you can enjoy with your little ones, there is also a chance to relax without the children, occasionally joining the group for a few drinks or taking part in the networks 5-a-side football league. I’ve been assured this is for all abilities! There is rumoured to be a national 5-a-side tournament on the horizon between all of the Dad
Monthly meet ups with the children allow them to also interact with friends away from childcare or school, to ensure they get as much out of the group as the dads.
The online interaction can often be light hearted, but the ‘Dadmins’ ensure that the important bits are covered too, having recently organised a successful baby and infant first aid evening.
I recently joined the network and was shocked at how quickly I was approved and welcomed into the group, and not just by the admin team. My welcome was quickly followed by an invite to an event. I already feel like a valued member. I would urge other dads or dads to be to give it a try. There are no expectations or obligations to fulfil, just like-minded people making the most out of being daddies.
To learn more, or to join, visit the Facebook or Twitter accounts today!