The latest blog in our ‘father to the fatherless’ series comes from guest blogger Sonia Shaljean.
Sonia is founder and managing director of an Essex-based initiative that is getting national attention.
Founded in 2015 Lads Need Dads is an award-winning not-for-profit Community Interest Company. It was set up to prevent potential problems and address existing ones where boys are missing a father-figure in their lives.
Our aim is to equip and empower boys during the critical ages of 11 to 15 to be motivated, responsible, capable, resilient and emotionally competent. We believe prevention is crucial in reducing the growing number of boys coming from fatherless homes each year who under achieve at school, struggle with their mental health, are excluded from school or engage in offending behaviour.
Lads Need Dads is a growing organisation which started at grassroots level with one woman’s vision to ‘prevent’ future generations of young males with absent fathers becoming high risk and a future social care statistic.
Our core services include an 18-month early intervention group work programme, called Equip, plus Engage and Inspire, which incorporates personal development, outdoor activities, practical life-skill training, community volunteering, peer mentoring and leadership opportunities. Once completed, boys become Ambassadors and can attend an open-ended well-being group to continue accessing mentor and peer support.
A high percentage of boys who complete our programmes not only have increased emotional literacy, confidence, motivation, self-esteem and have improved relationships, attitude and educational attainment at school, they also get on better with and see more of their biological fathers, from whom they were initially estranged.