The North East Young Dads and Lads, based in Gateshead, were announced as our new partners in June 2020. With lead parter, CEO Kevin Stoodley, the charity agreed to collaborate with the study so that we could research the impacts of COVID-19 on a wider national cohort of young dads and with a national organisation that is passionately committed to tackling negative societal views of young fathers.
On their website they explain a bit about their history and establishment:
“The project started life in 2015 with a simple brief: to find out what, if anything, could be done to support young dads (aged under 25) who live, work or study in the North East of England. At the time, there was no blueprint for this work, so as experienced youth workers we went out and met young men on their terms and figured things out together.
Several years on and NEYDL is a charity in it’s own right, reaching over 50 young men a year and spending on average over 40 hours with each young man we meet. Due to the honesty and courage shown by these young men, we now have a better understanding of the difficulties facing young men who are fathers, along with an admiration for the resilience and determination they continue to show in the face of often-extreme adversity.”
Their ethos as an organisation aligns with own for the FYFF study, which is directly informed by the evidence we are producing, that:
“Counter to the excuses used by professionals who fail to work effectively with this community, young dads are not unreachable, un-teachable, disinterested or a problem that needs fixing.”
Our relationship with the North East Dads and Lads has evolved over time and we have also had the privilege of supporting the lads and dads to conduct a peer research project called Diverse Dads, which aimed to address gaps in support and outreach for minoritised young fathers. With the support of Jonah York of DigiDAD we produced five videos about the project featuring the peer research team, the advisory team, young fathers from minoritised young fathers and professionals with experience of working with fathers and minoritised communities. We also produced a recording of the end of project webinar which was delivered to professionals and researchers across the UK to deliver our key findings and recommendations for practice.
Several of the NEYDL dads have also accompanied us in presenting to policy makers including at the All Party Parliamentary Group (or APPG) on Fatherhood and as part of a written and video submission for a recent House of Lords Inquiry on Youth Unemployment. Click on the links below to watch the videos!