How two Rugby dads set up a popular stay and play session - and how you can get involved too

More volunteers are being sought for the popular event

L:R, volunteers Dylan and Gavin.

Two dads in Rugby celebrate Father’s Day every month at a stay and play session just for dads - and they are encouraging more dads to come along and join in the fun.

Volunteers Dylan Watt and Gavin Lewis set up ‘SaturDads’ four years ago and it has gone continued to become more and more popular.

The group is part of the Rugby Borough Children & Family Centres which is run by children’s charity Barnardo’s.

Volunteer Gavin Lewis said: “When I moved to Rugby I would attend stay and play groups with my son and I was often the only dad there.

"Although the mums were very friendly, I did sometimes feel a bit of a 'sore thumb' and so I discussed the idea of setting up a group for dads with Barnardo’s. I was put in touch with Dylan and with Barnardo’s support, ‘SaturDads’ was created.

"When the group started we didn't know if anybody would come along, but we had a very good turn out, and it's been great to see the group growing since then.

“SaturDads isn’t just a place where dads can spend time with their children and chat to other dads, but it also normalises the idea that dads can get involved in parenting."

Barnardo’s volunteer coordinator Nicola Sharpe said: “I am extremely proud of Dylan and Gavin’s hard work and commitment to male carers in our community.

"They have both juggled the pressures of working from home, caring and home schooling their young families while still maintaining their commitment to SaturDads during the pandemic.

"When asked to consider a virtual ‘Zoom’ SaturDads, both were in agreement and happy to step out of their comfort zone.

"They offered the virtual coffee morning on a fortnightly basis as a safe space for male carers to connect, whilst our Centres were closed.

"Now that they are able to offer a group in the Centre again it is still extremely popular."

Due to its popularity, volunteer Dylan Watt is encouraging more dads to get involved with running the group.

He said: “We are really keen to hear from more male volunteers.

"Often when you discuss the time commitments it’s not as significant as you’d think. A little bit of time can make a big impact.”

The group runs on the second Saturday of each month from the Claremont Children's and Family Centre in Rugby.

To learn more, contact [email protected]