It's been 12 months of celebration, collaboration and change for families and organisations across Scotland. NICK THORPE looks at what Year of the Dad achieved – and what we might hope for in 2017 and beyond.
WHAT was your best Year of the Dad moment?
My personal favourite was watching school children proudly premiere their own Song for Dad at the Edinburgh Zoo launch, applauded by hundreds of guests from organisations and families across Scotland. It set the tone for the year, and showed that celebrating the difference a great dad can make is ultimately about improving our children’s lives.
There have been countless moments since then, as thousands of you – 5,800 individuals and 1300 organisations – signed up for the positive, father-friendly campaign, and made it your own in hundreds of different ways. Check out our new thankyou video below to remember some of the highlights...
Year of the Dad was all about collaboration, and as 2016 comes to an end, we want to thank you for embracing it so wholeheartedly, sharing your inspiring stories, and building on the great work so many of you are doing in the world.
We hope you spotted some familiar faces in the video, and you can download our official review for more detail or peruse our campaign dashboard (right, or click here for pdf version) where the headline figures speak for themselves:
- 95 events put on by 56 organisations across Scotland, reaching 14,800 people directly during 2016 with everything from family fun days to festival shows, from conferences to cycle rides.
- 500,000+ people reached through 46 articles in both Scottish & UK media, including The Times and BBC Radio 1.
- 20,000+ views of 32 YouTube films on the FNS channel, highlighting individual and organisational stories for a wider public. (Thankyou to the talented Sandy Butler!)
- 30,000+ visits to our websites offering 40+ downloadable resources for families, services and employers and a range of research papers.
- 184 self-described dad-friendly organisations, services & groups in our online directory, up from 24 at the start of the year.
Good, father-friendly work has always existed but until now we didn’t know who was doing it, where it was and what the impact was. Now we are all linked as part of a network – one of the most highly-valued outcomes of the Year of the Dad.
Thank you to those of you who responded to our recent stakeholder survey with such overwhelming warmth. You can read some representative comments in our report, but this wordcloud gives a good flavour of what we heard.
Not every year can be Year of the Dad. But respondents to our recent stakeholder survey are clear: you want to continue work we have all started, whether it’s starting new initiatives including New Dad Workshops, increasing the uptake of shared parental leave, setting up dads’ groups, or supporting dads’ workers.
We want that too, and our core staff team – Sam Pringle, Nick Thorpe & Cathy Sexton – will continue to give a platform for the sharing of stories and successes with thousands of others through our database and social media. Our resources will continue to be freely available on the Year of the Dad website, which will take the campaign legacy forward.
In particular, in 2017 and beyond, we will be focusing with stakeholders on the following areas:
- Grow the dad-friendly network by sharing resources, stories, knowledge and trainings across Scotland using packages such as Fife’s Where’s Dad programme.
- Engage dads in schools/early years by rolling out Prestonpans’ teachers dad-friendly toolkit more widely, and working with Families Need Fathers Scotland to improve registration of dads across Scottish Local Authorities - because children’s attainment is raised when dads are involved.
- Encourage employers to support shared parenting by influencing government through our Family Friendly Working partnership to increase dads’ access to shared parental leave/paternity. Explore more ways to work alongside the private sector to reach mutually beneficial goals.
- Support Dads who parent at a distance such as those in custody and in the armed Forces, by tailoring new resources to their specific needs through our network, and measure the impact by working with academics.
In all this collaboration remains key. We need YOU to continue what we’ve started together! We have much to learn from experts like you working directly with dads, and will continue to co-create resources and listen to our stakeholders individually or through groups such as National Fathers Advisory Board.
It’s been a roller-coaster year with all kinds of emotions, particularly following our CEO David Drysdale’s untimely death in July. It was his idea to have a Year of the Dad, and we believe he would be delighted at how it has turned out.
So thank you to all of you for embracing this amazing opportunity. Let’s not forget what those school kids showed us in their song, right from the start: this is all about our children.
Have a wonderful Christmas and we look forward to working with you again in 2017!