Working With Dads

Spurgeons recognises the important role that fathers play in children’s lives. We created Saturdads to help fathers develop stronger, positive relationships, build their parenting capacity and be more involved in their child’s learning.

At the weekly Saturday morning sessions, fathers can watch their children play, be more involved with them and develop their confidence as a dad. The scheme also helps fathers to create peer support networks and enables them to socialise with other parents.

Spurgeons has been running Saturdads in Peterborough since 2009, thanks to funding from Peterborough City Council.

Dads can really make a difference

Children who grow up with actively involved fathers benefit from increased cognitive abilities. We look to support both fathers and mothers as earners and carers – while the sessions are primarily for dads and children, mums can come along to support their partners.

In Saturdads sessions, activities are based on the children’s and fathers’ interests, including woodwork, cookery, first aid, den building, gardening and story sack making.

Supporting dads to engage their child’s early literacy is also important, particularly for boys. Fathers are involved in recording their children’s learning through online learning journeys.

85% of those who attended Saturdads at least 12 times during 2013-2016 met expected outcomes in Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) for reading, listening and attention, compared to 45% that did not attend or attend regularly.

Role models

Staff, volunteers and other dads act as role models and offer play ideas, and the talk time in the session enables fathers to share and develop their parenting capacity.

Who does Saturdads help?

Saturdads is delivered in Spurgeons Children’s Centres in areas of multiple deprivation in Peterborough. The group is targeted at:

  • Vulnerable children and families,

  • Children supported by children’s social care (including those subject to Child Protection Plan)

  • Lone parent (father) families and those identified as needing additional support

  • Children from birth to seven years

  • Dads/male carers, uncles, grandfathers

  • Mothers/female carers attend family sessions with dads

To find out more about Saturdads, please contact 01933 417438

What people say about Saturdads

“The Saturdads group is particularly successful because it enables male role models to establish productive relationships with the children. It also helps fathers learn more about how to support their children’s learning and development. Work on developing the garden area is also engaging interested adults in improving the children’s learning environment at the centre. This is also proving to be a good opportunity to make new friends.” - Ofsted

“As a father especially, I don’t think you know where to turn for support if you need it. It’s always family and friends who I would reach out to first. We love the sessions though and I get as much out of them as the boys do - I’ll keep taking them until they tell me they don’t want to go anymore.” – Michael Bowers, Parent

“I had little confidence with fatherhood and how to socialise with other dads and children. I was very nervous coming to the group as I was unsure who else was coming and what I would face. Saturdads helped me to come to a group and watch them play and be more involved and confident as a dad. I have also learnt how to cook at this group! This group has helped me with the everyday tasks that we face as parents.” - A father with four children under the age of ten

dad playing with daughter
dad playing with daughter

Case Studies

Spurgeons’ Saturdads

Michael Bowers from Peterborough has two sons, Alfie (4) and Charlie (18 months). He has been going to Spurgeons’ Saturdads sessions for a couple of years now. He works all week and wanted to spend some more time with his boys, and the fun play days are the perfect way to help build their confidence.


Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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