Case Study (Early Years/Young Fathers/Parenting Education): Who Let the Dads Out?

1 November 2012

Who Let The Dads Out?

We know that parent and toddler work can transform relationships and strengthen families. Yet we also know that whilst many groups set out to be “parent and toddler” rather than “mother and toddler”, the reality is that they attract mostly mothers, grandmothers and child-minders:  Fathers are almost universally missing from the parent and toddler world. What if dad friendly groups existed that could allow men to spend time with their children, develop parenting confidence, compare notes with other fathers and carry this father-child engagement back into the home?

Since 2003, Who Let The Dads Out? has been creating space where dads and their children can have fun together and is founded on the Christian principle of wanting to demonstrate God’s love to communities. Who Let The Dads Out? comprises the Who Let The Dads Out? toddler sessions, plus a number of follow on ideas to maintain contact with the dads and their families.

Who Let The Dads Out? began atHooleBaptistChurch,Chesterin March 2003, and has since grown into a nationwide and even overseas initiative with over 70 registered groups in theUKand 1 group inNew Zealand.

Founder Mark Chester has written two books about the initiative entitled Who Let The Dads Out? and School’s Out Dad’s About.  In his foreword to Who Let The Dads Out?, Mark Molden writes “What Mark Chester has written in this book delivers a rescue plan for dads like me, which if implemented by the local church, could have a ‘nation changing’ effect on family life across the UK”.  If you are interested in getting hold of a copy of either book then visit the BRF on-line shop website at:

Follow on activities include:

  • SODA (School’s Out Dad’s About) – a special club for dads, stepdads, grandads, male carers and their infant school children. The fun involves a mix of arts, crafts, toys, games and sports.
  • Daddy Cool! – a 5 session parenting programme specifically for dads and male carers.
  • Soul Man? – a format through which men can explore basic questions of faith and spirituality.

In March 2012 Who Let The Dads Out? became part of BRF (The Bible Reading Fellowship), a registered charity working throughout theUK. Who Let The Dads Out? is now a core ministry of BRF. It is BRF’s vision to encourage and support the free establishment of Who Let The Dads Out? groups, helping churches throughout theUKand beyond to run their own sessions to support fathers and their children in local communities.

In September BRF appointed Tony Sharp (who also runs a SODA group inChester) to work part-time as Who Let The Dads Out? National Co-ordinator.  Tony comments, “I am delighted to have started working for BRF in this role. I’m growing more passionate daily about the shortage of good male role models in our communities and want to try to play my part, God willing, to address it”. 





Pointing to a picture from a recent Who Let The Dads Out? meeting, Tony reflects that “this is a great portrayal of a father’s love for his child that reminds me of our Father God’s unconditional love for each and every one of us. But I’m also reminded that many men struggle to engage effectively as parents and many marriages breakdown in the early stages of parenthood. Who Let The Dads Out? offers churches the opportunity (and tools) to engage with men at this stage of their lives and to help support them as fathers”.

To find out more about Who Let The Dads Out? or to find a group near you then visit our website at:

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