What is Fathers Direct?

Fathers Direct
The National Information Centre on Fatherhood

What is Fathers Direct?

Fathers Direct is the leading organisation in the UK promoting support for the child-father relationship (registered charity 1075104). It was founded 1999 by men and women with expertise in communications, social policy and child development. It seeks to promote good practice in public services and in industry that recognises the aspiration of fathers to be more involved in their children’s lives and responds to an increasing body of research that demonstrates the importance of the father-child and the mother-father relationships to children . The aim of the organisation is “to create a society that supports children to have a strong and positive relationship with their fathers and other male carers and prepares boys and girls for a future shared role in caring for children”.

• Fathers Direct is the lead provider of training, information and consultancy services to the children and family sector, as the sector adapts its services to meet the new realities of family life. Fathers Direct publishes FatherWork magazine – the best produced magazine in the family sector. Fathers Direct has created the Fatherhood Quality Mark for family and children’s services.

• Fathers Direct leads international thinking. It was commissioned by an international children’s foundation to organise the first ever Global Summit on Fatherhood, at Christchurch, Oxford, in March 2003.

• Fathers Direct is a key advisor to Government, engaging directly at Ministerial level and with policy makers in No.10. It has been commissioned by Government to advise on children at risk, fathers in schools, maternity services, teenage pregnancy, fathers in prison, family services & domestic violence.

• Fathers Direct is at the heart of public debate, pioneering a new way of discussing fatherhood that focuses on children’s well-being and actively supports motherhood. In 2004, over 500 newspaper articles featured the organisation, reaching over 60m readers, according to Romeike Media Services. Staff were interviewed on over 150 occasions by national and regional media. Staff are often invited to write commentary articles for the broadsheet media.

• Fathers Direct is committed to gender equality, working with the Fawcett Society and the Equal Opportunities Commission (the CEO of Fathers Direct is an Equal Opportunities Commissioner).

• Fathers Direct is committed to children’s well-being. It has active partnerships with children’s organisations, eg Children in Wales, Children in Scotland and NSPCC. Each year Fathers Direct organises a project that asks children to speak to or about their fathers.

• Fathers Direct is pioneering new information services for dads. It has created an award-winning website, ww.fathersdirect.com, and in April 2004, it launched Dad magazine, to be distributed free of charge to 400,000 families a year through maternity services.

The staff

• David Bartlett, Training & Consultancy
• Tom Beardshaw, Networks
• Adrienne Burgess, Policy & Research
• Duncan Fisher, Director
• Kathy Jones, Training and Project
• Jack O’Sullivan, Communications
• Liz Rand, Marketing Services and Publications

The Trustees

• Dame Julie Mellor, Chair of Trustees, former Chair of the Equal Opportunities Commissioner, now a Partner at PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
• Bronwen Cohen OBE, Chief Executive of Children in Scotland.
• Melvyn Davis, Head of Coram boys2MEN Services
• Lisa Harker, Chair of Trustees of the Daycare Trust
• Professor Michael Lamb, Dept of Social & Developmental Psychology, Cambridge University, world’s leading expert on the role of fathers in child development.
• Ben Rose, lawyer and Trustee of youth charities.
• Carolyn Unsted, Principal School Improvement Officer, Lewisham Council.


They include Department for Education and Skills – Parenting Fund, Strengthening Families, Teenage Pregnancy Unit, Offender Learning and Skills Unit; Department of Health – Section 64; BT; Lloyds TSB; Children in Wales; Children in Scotland; Tudor Trust; Barrow Cadbury Trust; Big Lottery; Venturesome; Baring Foundation.