Worthing social group for dads ‘spreading like wildfire’ after successful first 18 months
Dads from across the area have spent the last 18 months making new friends and taking part in Dad La Soul, a project tackling social isolation.
Since father-of-one Dan Flanagan launched the group a year and a half ago, it has grown considerably with 70 dads and children attending, coming to Worthing from as far as Eastbourne to access the groups.
The group has been shown plenty of support with funding from the National Lottery, Community Chest, Sussex Community Foundation and a contract with social housing association Clarion to open a new club in Hurstpierpoint, which launches on Saturday.
There are also plans to open a new group in Brighton in September, so more people will have access to the ultimate playdate.
Attention from a Huffington Post documentary about the group has led to Dan receiving inquiries from as far away as Canada from dads who want a club there. Directors are hoping to set it up so any town or city you go to there will be a Dad La Soul set up there to join in with.
Dan said: “I think it shows quite distinctly that what we are doing is so important in giving dads a safe space and the ideas of what we have created are spreading like wildfire.
“These are just dads actively volunteering time and skills and networks because they don’t want to sit in the park watching soft play, on their phones.”
Activities have included Lego, soft play, robot crafting and even working with Brighton music charity Audio Active which put on a dads vs kids rap competition.
Organisers work with male suicide prevention charity CALM because of Project 84, which draws attention to the fact that 84 men under the age of 45 commit suicide every week in the UK.
Dan said: “Dad La Soul is a lot of fun but there is a serious message behind it. It opens the door to start conversations which dads may not have otherwise.
“These men under 45, they are me, they are my friends, so we need to do something otherwise people fall by the wayside.”
The next planned activity is a silent disco beach clean on June 28, with fun for the children and dads as always, including ice cream and seaweeed related foods.
For more information about getting involved, visit www.totrockinbeats.com/dad-la-soul