We need you as Think Fathers Champions!

1 December 2009

A key element of the Think Fathers campaign is that people with a professional interest in fatherhood are out there at the coalface, working towards the local attitude shifts and day-to-day innovations that gradually and collectively, add up to cultural change.

Individual Champions

We want the Think Fathers campaign to be as broad-based as possible, so we are inviting interested individuals from all walks of life to sign up as Individual Champions. More than 500 individuals have already done just that. As well as people who work in children’s, family and health services, they include lawyers, social workers, journalists, researchers and other people with a personal or professional interest in fatherhood.

There are all sorts of things Individual Champions can do to contribute to the Think Fathers campaign. For example:
• If you work in children’s, family or health services – even if you’re a ‘lone voice’ within your organisation – you can bring about small changes to the way fathers are thought about and dealt with, and lobby for managers to take account of fathers’ significance in the planning, resources and delivery of services.
• If you are an MP, policy analyst or trade unionist you can help us push for changes to government policy, to level out the playing field on which mothers and fathers share out their work and childcare responsibilities.
• If you run your own business, or work for a Human Resources department, you can champion father-child relationships by introducing parental leave and flexible working policies designed to give mums and dads more choices about how they share their working and childcare responsibilities.
• Professionals in all walks of life – teachers, lawyers, researchers, journalists, TV producers, architects – can use their expertise and influence to further the Think Fathers campaign. Listening to fathers’ voices and experiences and being critical and evidence-based about motherhood, fatherhood and other aspects of ‘family life’ are key ways in which all of us can help bring about change.

You can sign up as an Individual Champion by clicking here, filling in your details in the body of the email and clicking ‘send’.

You can also create your own personal Champion Statement, which describes how you plan to contribute to the campaign. Once our new interactive website goes live (spring 2010) you will be able to publish your statement onto your own personal Champion page. In the meantime, we’d love to hear more about your ideas and activities, so please feel free to send us your Statements.

Agency Champions

We are also inviting agencies, projects or services within the UK’s children’s, family and health services, to sign up as Agency Champions. In signing up as an Agency Champion, your agency, project or service must commit to:

• Work towards delivering services which systematically engage with fathers and support father-child and parental relationships
• Do the Dad Test – assess how father-inclusive your services are, and work out your own action plan for how to meet the needs of both parents more effectively (click here for more details).
• Feed back your Dad Test results to us.

The Champions scheme is NOT intended as a mark of quality, although many Champions will be doing excellent work with dads. Rather, it is about ‘championing’ fathers and fatherhood. As an Agency Champion you will use the Dad Test to assess the father-inclusiveness of your services and develop strategies for improving your performance – and let us know how you’re getting on. As outlined below, we will be on hand to support you all the way….

You can sign up your agency as an Agency Champion by clicking here, filling in the relevant details in the body of the email and clicking ‘send’.

How will the Fatherhood Institute support Champions?

All Champions will have access, free of charge, to support from the Institute’s new team of Regional Development Officers (click here for details). From January 2010, Champions will receive Dad Test-related eshots and regular email newsletters about the campaign, including analysis of policy and research developments, interesting work being developed by Champions, and ideas for good practice. Our new website (launching spring 2010) will also provide an expanded and more interactive space for Champions to learn about and debate father-inclusive approaches. Here you will be able to create and share your own Champion page describing your work. All Agency Champions will be able to use the Think Fathers Logo in their own promotional materials.

Champions Plus

Agency Champions will also be able to buy our new Champions Plus support package. Champions Plus is designed to help you carry out a detailed self-assessment of how father-inclusive your agency is, and to develop and implement an action plan to support father-child and parental relationships more effectively.

The Champions Plus package includes:

• A Dad Test Logbook – which identifies in detail exactly what you need to do to become father-inclusive, and enables you to record your progress and map out your strategies for becoming more father-inclusive. The Logbook is currently available in hard copy format, but will be available in an online version from spring 2010
• Intensive, targeted support from our new team of Regional Development Officers, for a nominated link person in your agency, project or service
• 10% discount on all Fatherhood Institute training and consultancy – designed specifically to support your agency to fulfil the requirements of the Dad Test (for more details about our training and consultancy options, click here). An agency with 25 staff would earn back £180 – more than their Champions Plus fee – when booking a one-day course for all their staff
• E-mail advice line
• Priority booking for events.

To buy Champions Plus, please contact your Regional Development Officer, who will register you to Champions Plus and arrange invoicing – and will be happy to talk through any other requirements or queries.

Find out more about the Think Fathers campaign…

Click here to find a series of articles that describe the campaign, and how you can contribute to it.