Our team consists of four Project Workers and one Team Leader. We have been working full time since June 1997. The Early Years Project works with families with young children, all families are different, with many having a father, stepfather or male guardian playing a significant role in the welfare and rearing of children.
As many mothers will tell you, bringing up children can be the most rewarding and fulfilling experience of their lives, but it can also can be tough, with many new demands placed upon them. Some fathers play a huge role in their young children's lives, and they have to meet the same challenges as any other parent.
Issues can be different for fathers, and they now have the opportunity to talk these over with a male project worker who has parenting experience. Issues could be on the fathers own employment/training, or support on parenting issues such as discipline and play, or just someone to chat to.
Some days out are organised for fathers of children: a barbecue at Crawfordsburn on a great sunny day was enjoyed by all fathers and their children. A trip to the museum is also planned for the end of September.
We can offer home visits, where we are privileged enough to be invited into families homes. To compliment this, we are developing a drop in facility to run on Saturday mornings at the Martin Centre, Ballygomartin Road, where fathers and children will be welcome to take part in a varied program of activities.
We can only hope to continue this work, and raise awareness of issues which affect fathers, and their sons and daughters in the Greater Shankill Area.
Male Team Leader