Proposed Constitution changes

We are proposing two changes to our constitution, these changes need to be voted on by our members at our AGM, and if successful we will then submit them to the charity regulator.

Change one

To give the board of trustees and membership more flexibility going forward it will give members the ability to exercise their voting rights even if they cannot attend a members meeting.

Existing wording:

Voting at members’ meetings

42. Every member has one vote, which must be given personally.

New wording:

Voting at members’ meetings

42. Every member has one vote, which can be given in person at the meeting, or by other means, as agreed by the board of trustees.
 

Change two

This change is proposed in response to the increased interest in the number of people wanting to join the board of trustees. It will also allow for an increased range of experience, thus give more stability to Dads Rock.

Existing wording:

Number of charity trustees

52. The maximum number of charity trustees is ten.

New wording:

Number of charity trustees

52. The maximum number of charity trustees is twelve.

Trustee Role Description (voluntary position)

The main duties of the Trustees

To ensure that Dads Rock:

  • Complies with its governing documents, including the Dads Rock Constitution and Policies.

  • Pursues its charitable objects as defined in its governing documents including the Dads Rock Constitution.

  • Applies its resources exclusively in furtherance of its objects, i.e. DR must not spend money on activities which are not included in its own objects, no matter how worthwhile or charitable those activities are.

  • Has an effective and efficient administration.

  • Is financially stable.

  • Contribute actively to the role of Trustee by:

  1. Attending Board meetings and other meetings and events as determined by the Board;
  2. Giving firm strategic direction to the organisation;
  3. Setting and reviewing operational policy and practice;
  4. Defining goals, setting targets and evaluating performance against agreed targets.
  5. Safeguard the good name and values of Dads Rock.
  6. Protect and manage the tangible assets (property etc.) of the organisation and to ensure the proper investment of all funds.
  7. Support the Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer and staff of Dads Rock.

In addition to the above duties of all Trustees, each Trustee should use any specific knowledge or experience they may have to help the Board reach sound decisions. This will involve scrutinising Board papers, leading discussions, focusing on key issues, and providing advice and guidance requested by the Board on new initiatives or other issues relevant to the area of work in which the Trustee has special expertise.

Person Specification:

Essential attributes

An interest in the ethos and aims of Dads Rock.

  • An understanding and acceptance of the legal duties, responsibilities and liabilities of trusteeship.

  • Commitment to preparing for and attending Board meetings and other meetings and events.

  • Ability to maintain confidentiality on personal and sensitive information.

  • The ability to work as part of the team of Trustees in order to reach sound and fair decisions.

  • Ability to understand and analyse complex information, often presented in report form.

  • Ability to contribute to Dads Rock strategic planning process.

  • To be able to represent at least one key skill/knowledge area on the Board.

  • To ensure that you are not disqualified from being a trustee for any reason.

There is a requirement that Trustees will be part of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups scheme. Given the aims of the charity, we require trustees with experience of one or more of the following areas:

  • Third Sector

  • Finance

  • Fundraising

  • Fatherhood

  • Marketing and Communications (including digital)

  • Legal

  • Early Years

  • Healthcare (NHS)

  • Local Authority (i.e. Education and/or Social Work)

  • Social Enterprise

  • Human Resources

Desirable attributes

Qualifications and or membership of professional bodies related to your area of expertise. Previous experience of serving on a Board of Trustees or equivalent would also be beneficial.

Time commitment

You will be required to commit to serving on the Board for a minimum of two years.

Board Meetings take place approximately every quarter. Dates for the following calendar year are circulated prior to, and agreed at, the last meeting of the year.

In addition, you may be asked:

  • To represent Dads Rock at other internal and external events depending on your availability.

  • To participate in appropriate sub-committee groups – depending on your area of expertise and availability.

  • To attend any other meetings and events by agreement of the Board.

  • To attend the Annual General Meeting

  • To attend Special Members Meetings

Failure to attend three Board meetings in any twelve month period may result in the Chair asking the Trustee to stand down.

Trustee Induction includes

An induction meeting with the Chair and if desired to be peer supported by an existing Trustee.

Benefits of becoming a Trustee

The knowledge that you are playing a vital role in the running and development of Dads Rock; enabling the organisation to continue its work and make a difference to Scottish society. The opportunity to enhance your existing skills and knowledge relating to the development of an innovative and dynamic voluntary organisation. The ability to enhance your network and broaden your experience of the third sector.

Prospective Trustees seeking election to the Board (Eight vacant posts)

1. Barry Wright

My first involvement with Dads Rock was as the father of 18 month-old daughter 3-4 years ago. The ideas of helping and inspiring men to be more active in the upbringing of their children had such a profound impact on me that it motivated me to join the team. I have been working for Dads Rock for two years now.

Over the two years I have been involved in most of the aspects of the running and delivery of the charities activities to a greater or lesser extent. Leading playgroups, Antenatal classes, working one to one with young Dads, running projects in schools, organising events and activities, the building of our website, and the general day to day running of the organisation. This has given me a unique insight into the workings of Dads Rock.

For the twenty years prior to Dads Rock I had been an electronics design engineer in Research and Development for large companies such as Nokia and ScanDisk. The experience gained there, developing vague concepts through to significant technical invention, includes a full range of transferable organisational and management skills as well as a creativity in dealing with the fine detail within a much bigger picture.

I also have experience as the Director of a start-up company, where I worked with a range of Government business support agencies and private investors to raise working capital, and directly with Social Media focussed marketing strategists. From which I gained Dads Rock applicable skills for fundraising and promotion of our activities.

Although I have decided to pursue a career as a Secondary School Teacher, so will be leaving Dads Rock front line. I would very much like to further help Dads Rock as a Trustee, and would be honoured should my offer be accepted.

2. David Gray

I have 13 years’ experience working in the Commercial and Third Sectors, including specific experience in developing care services in the charitable sector.

I am a Director of AM Bid, an award-winning and rapidly growing professional services business. My work involves helping organisations - including many registered charities - grow and scale up, through bidding for new contracts or funding.

In my previous post, I worked in a highly commercial role at EDF Energy, developing innovative revenue generating models and new local authority partnerships. This involved the development and delivery of strategic plans, including digital marketing planning and execution.

Before this, I spent several years working in the social housing sector, including 3 years as a Senior Manager with a registered charity, where I was responsible for the strategic development of social care and technology enabled care services.

I wish to be a Dads Rock Trustee because I am the proud Dad to two young children, ages 2 and 5, a member of Dads Rock, and a long-time supporter of the charity’s work. I enjoyed working with Dads Rock Trustees and Management on a voluntary basis recently and would like to build on that experience to offer ongoing support to the organisation as a Trustee.

I will bring to the role:

  • A proven track record of developing and delivering strategic plans, to achieve growth and/or increased revenue generation

  • Experience working with a broad range of charities, developing care services, and writing proposals and applications for funding or revenue generating contracts

  • Experience of developing successful partnerships with Local Authorities and the NHS

  • Highly developed communication skills and a vast professional network, enabling me to access and influence key decision makers, and to forge lasting relationships built on mutual trust

  • Experience of Board governance and an understanding of the regulations impacting charities, as well as the importance of strong governance and corporate conduct

  • Experience of working in the Third Sector, and in finance, fundraising, marketing and communications (including digital), Social Enterprise, Human Resources and legal.

I am a reliable, resilient and highly motivated individual, with a strong moral compass and commitment to living and working ethically. I am proud and grateful to have a very strong relationship with my Dad and my own children. As such, I am highly passionate about contributing meaningfully and effectively to the Dads Rock aim to support and inspire Dads, children and families, to ensure they have the strongest relationships they can.

3. Ed Ross

As a father of one (with another on the way!) over the last couple of years of attending the Granton playgroup and other Dads Rock events I have been really impressed with the Dads Rock ethos and the unique services that it provides. The absence of a viable, local, alternative outlet for men and their families I believe was fundamental in ultimately securing additional funding earlier this year, and it is an initiative that would feel honoured to support in a more involved way.

I have recently stepped down after around 8 years of volunteering on the Scottish Government sports association committee. This has involved providing strategic direction and pragmatic financial guidance, working closely with the treasurer, on issues such as equipment procurement and individual and team subsidy, as well as project managing the delivery of new infrastructure including a replacement football pitch.

I work as an Economic Adviser at the Scottish Government, leading a team whose focus is on school funding and expenditure. I have experience in appraisal and evaluation, investment and strategic planning as well as working on committees and stakeholders groups. My previous roles include providing economic advice on a range of different policy areas including communities, environment and marine. Much of my time at present is spent thinking about attainment and how children, especially those from deprived areas, can best fulfil their potential. Assuming this doesn’t constitute a conflict of interest and my skills are complementary to those currently on the board then I’d welcome the opportunity to serve as a trustee for Dads Rock.

4. Gillian Anderson

My partner has two daughters, ages 10 and 13, from a previous relationship.  When we first met he said that people described him as a weekend dad, or a part time dad as he only sees them every fortnight or when he can take time off work. Working in the palliative care sector, I am aware of how precious memory making is and since becoming a part time step mum to his two girls, I do everything that I can to make sure that the time they spend together is precious.  All too often mums are at the heart of a child’s care, yet the father has an equal amount of love, care and encouragement that they can give their children too.

I have been seeking a non-executive position for the past year with a charity which I value and support, one which I can connect with on a personal and professional basis.  Reading the work that Dads Rock does, I am very keen to be part of the charity and to be part of the team which ensures that dads continue to be a vital part of their child’s life.

Professionally I have worked in the third sector for the past 17 years.  I am currently the Business Manager for the Royal Society of Edinburgh and prior to this I was the Executive Support and Strategy Manager for Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS).

I have experience of developing, delivering, monitoring and evaluating strategic and operational plans, working with teams to develop the budget planning process which accompanies this plan and of the good governance practices required for any successful Board. Supporting the Company Secretarial work for the past 15 years have given me a good grounding in the legislative context of charity and company law.

Some of my key achievements in my working life include:

  • Managing a truly inclusive strategy making process ensuring that the voices of children CHAS served were included in the planning

  • A successful core funding application to Scottish Government for funding for a senior management team post plus administrative support and learning costs.  The total funding requested was £450,000 over three years and the application was successful for 100% of funding requested.

  • Development of a trustee governance pack for Board members and a good governance induction for new members

  • Facilitated Board Away Day events maximising on their time, skills and knowledge to work towards continued good governance practices

  • Built good working relationships with senior staff, trustees and external stakeholders in support of my work   

I have membership of the Institute of Institute of Administrative Management, Chartered Institute for IT and Axelos (Prince2).

5. Gordon MacDonald (MSP)

I first met the founders of Dads Rock shortly after my election in 2011 when the charity first met at Gate 55 in my constituency. I was impressed with their commitment and the vision they had to establish a musical playgroup for dads and their children that was fun! I offered my support and have promoted Dads Rock with motions and debates in Parliament ever since.

Regarding my role of trustee, I believe that apart from the promotional aspect within parliament I have a wealth of experience in the finance field. In my previous career with the public transport industry I held a managerial post within the finance department. I can help provide the necessary fiscal oversight required by the Scottish Charity Regulator.

If I continue as a trustee of Dads Rock then I will ensure that we maintain the same vision, ethos and values that attracted me to offer my support 7 years ago. 

Chair’s note: Gordon has been an elected member of the Board of Trustees since 2012.

6. Graeme Crossley

As a dad to a seven-year-old daughter I appreciate the challenges of parenthood and greatly admire the work of Dads Rock and would love to become involved!

I have a depth of experience in the charitable sector. Prior to relocating to Edinburgh in 2016 I served as a Trustee of three charities, including as Chair of a £9 million turnover organisation supporting vulnerable people in their communities with a history of mental health challenges. During my tenure we created 80 new jobs, achieved Investors in People and increased the number of service users we supported to 12,000 a year.

I held responsibility for ensuring strong governance, led the board and management team in setting & delivering strategic plans focusing on supporting more service users and fundraising (individual giving, grant applications, tendering, corporate partnerships & securing the patronage of high net worth individuals).

In my professional career I work as a consultant marketing director. Previous brands include Amazon, Coca-Cola, Pizza Hut, Sainsbury’s, Whitbread, WH Smith and ODEON Cinemas.

I hope my application is of interest. I feel I would add value to Dads Rock through the combination of my professional & voluntary experience to support the organisation in achieving its future ambitions.

7. Greg McCracken

The work of Dads Rock has interested me since becoming a father myself.  The positive message of the role that dads have to play is something in which I am a passionate believer, so I would welcome the opportunity to support the important work and services of Dads Rock through this opportunity.

I have a broad range of skills and experience which I feel would be valuable to the organisation.  I have supported boards and governance across a number of roles, so am very familiar with the requirement and expectations of a trustee, as well as the process of governing an organisation.  The ability to properly scrutinise information is a key duty of trustees and my background in policy research means this is something I would bring to the role.  While this would be my first time as a trustee, I also recognise it as an excellent opportunity for me to learn and develop personally.

My background is in policy and communications, having worked in the public, private and voluntary sectors, including time with the Scottish Government and a number of national organisations.  As a lobbyist representing the food industry, General Practitioners, a national charity and now the museums sector, I have a broad range of networks and an excellent awareness and understanding of the Scottish political and civic landscape.

As a team leader, I consistently sought to find positive outcomes to challenges and worked creatively in overcoming obstacles.  With experience in both small and large organisations, I am aware of the need to balance organisational objectives with the resource capacity, while being constantly mindful of how to develop and support colleagues with their own ambitions.  These are all skills which I feel would be of value in the role of trustee with Dads Rock.

8. Liann Weir

I’ve been an advocate of the fantastic work of Dads Rock for some time and am committed in my career to making sure children have the best start in life. Often that involves making sure the connection between parent and child is as strong as possible – that’s why I love what Dads Rock is about.  My background is Social Care/Social Work/Early Years. I have worked with CrossReach for 13 years across a variety of Children and Families Services and now have responsibility for the management and leadership of our Glasgow Children and Family Services. Prior to this I was with Glasgow City Council’s Social Work Team supporting families of children with additional needs.

I am also a trustee of The Croft – the prison visitor advice service at HMP Barlinnie in Glasgow and spent two years as director of Scottish Churches Housing Action – a national organisation focussed on ending homelessness. I laterally supported this organisation to recruit their new Chief Executive Officer which was an interesting experience.

Most importantly, I am mum to Abigail and Samuel who are so blessed to have an amazing dad around dropping them off, picking them up, doing homework, making their meals and generally being their rock.

I feel I can bring my experience of managing and growing our Early Years Project in Glasgow (Daisy Chain), the complexities of applying for funding, monitoring and evaluation to Dads Rock and help us look forward to the future. At present I manage four Children & Family services in Glasgow, have responsibility for providing services to over 200 children across the city, supporting over 50 members of the team and often dealing with challenging staffing issues, practice issues, resource issues, and child protection / welfare concerns. I am also a Safeguarding / Child & Adult Protection trainer for the Church of Scotland. Bringing this experience to Dads Rock means the team can have additional support on hand to deal with difficult situations and ensure we are always providing the best service possible for families.

Chair’s note: Liann has been a co-opted member of the Board of Trustees since January 2018

9. Mark Phillips

I am Manager at an Edinburgh-based third sector organisation (Access to Industry) specialising in employability and training of people with substance use, ex-offenders and care leavers. My career in this field has given me 20 years of both operational and strategic experience of supporting traditionally-overlooked sections of our community, and creating new programmes which will increase engagement. I have also been heavily involved in the fundraising efforts necessary to sustain and grow the organisation, and have contributed to successful funding bids to a number of trusts and local authorities. Just as importantly, I am aware of the challenges of vying for attention in a busy third sector ‘marketplace’, whilst still protecting the integrity of the organisation. In my view, a good third sector (or any) organisation can and should grow in size and influence, but its original aims need not.

Since 2008 I have also been a member of the Edinburgh Children’s Panel, and have chaired at least one Hearing session per month since then. As well as the obvious exposure to the legal aspects of the Hearing system, the experience has given me an immeasurable insight into childhood, parenting, resilience, vulnerability, what works, what doesn’t etc. Being a Panel member has also helped me understand what my own expectations are as a volunteer member of an organisation, and the value of support and training for my own needs.

Outside of work, I am recently married and my wife and I are currently awaiting the arrival of our first child – a daughter – in early September. These are the happy circumstances which have brought Dads Rock to my attention, having been introduced to the project via the antenatal classes.

Having studied the duties, specifications and expectations for this role, I feel confident that I can provide valuable counsel to contribute to Dads Rock’s future goals in a number of ways, and enjoy doing so. From my own employment, I am familiar with the protocols of cooperating appropriately and effectively with a Board of Trustees, and so I would see this as being far more than a quarterly appointment in my diary.

10. Robert Pollock

I am currently a member and parent of Dad Rock.  I am interested in the Trustee position and feel I have to offer time, a commitment to improving the health wellbeing and welfare of children in Edinburgh and a creative personality which should assist me in this aim.  I have three children aged two, 16 and 14.

I have been employed by Scottish Government since 1998:

  • For six years I have supported the strategic partnership between Ministers and Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) whose aim is to deliver value for money and economic growth through public infrastructure;

  • I was part of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Delivery Team. I managed the games Organising Committee sponsorship budget and the sportscotland and games Legacy budgets. I delivered a competition for student to design a games computer game;

  • As a Parliamentary Clerk I was responsible for managing and processing all responses to parliamentary questions (PQs) addressed to the Scottish Government;  

I have also worked in Department of Work and Pensions: Child Support Agency as an IT Project Officer and in the Ministry of Defence as an Incident Controller/Change Control Officer.

11. Roslyn Neely

I have a belief in the work of Dads Rock seeing both personally and professionally the importance of the role of fathers and the challenges faced by Dads in a society which can often recognise only mums as children’s caregivers.

I think the role that Dads Rock plays in encouraging and supporting dads is extremely worthy and I would be honoured to utilise my skills, knowledge, experience and enthusiasm to play some small part in the great work you do.

  • I have worked in the charitable sector for almost 20 years for children and young people’s healthcare organisations, which recognise the importance of supporting the whole family.

  • As a third sector leader I have thorough knowledge and experience of charitable law, regulation and governance.

  • In my current role as a charity CEO, I have led, along with the Chair, a programme of Trustee training, Board Effectiveness and governance review.

  • I am experienced in developing and delivering organisational strategy which has increased and improved services.

  • I believe that my experience of developing a charity’s services sustainably could be very helpful and relevant at Dads Rock.

  • I am very used to reporting to a Board on strategy and finances; and feel that regularly sitting on the ‘other side of the table’ could be helpful to both my fellow trustees and staff members.

  • My expertise is in fundraising, including involvement in two multi-million pound appeals; and all aspects of income generation.

  • I have developed and delivered numerous successful fundraising, marketing and public relations strategies.

  • As a charity CEO I have experience of all aspects of charity leadership including financial management, operations and human resources. I’m especially experienced in change management having led an organisational restructure, name change and office relocation in the last 24 months.

12. Tom Oliver

I have 2 daughters aged 2 and 4, and being there for my family has been my number one focus ever since. I think my submission to last year’s #beingdadsrock sums up how being a Dad has changed me, and how I think about my family:

Being a Dad has made me better. It has taught me to be selfless, to try and be patient, that pretending can be fun, and that almost anything can be exciting if you can look through the eyes of a child.

We are doing our best to support our girls, to give them what they need, and to teach them about the world. I am so excited to see where they can go, to see them live their dreams without limits, and most importantly see them be happy.

I promise to them both to try to always read that "one more book", to make up "a story about a beaver" and to be there whenever or wherever they need me - because I am their Dad, we are their parents, and they definitely rock.

  • I have been going to Dads Rock in Granton since my eldest was just over a year old. Having moved to Edinburgh, from London, when she was 9 months old I was looking for ways to meet other Dads and to do something fun on the weekend – and came across Dads Rocks webpage. Dads Rock has been a mainstay of our week

  • I am very much aligned with the importance of Dads, and am passionate that we have equal rights and are treated equally as parents – I am sick of being told how great it is that I babysit my children. I am also passionate about the rights fathers have in the workplace, and consulting in my workplace to see if we can have a policy that treats men and women equally.

  • I have made some contributions to Dads Rock over the last few years, including rewriting the word to ‘We Will Rock You’ to be a bit more child friendly and Dads Rocky.

  • I am a Senior Data Science Manager at Skyscanner, and have done some work with Dads Rock using an initiative we have here called #oneday, where one day a year is given over to charity work – outputs from this include a map of Edinburgh showing where all the Dads live, recently updated to be in Dads Rock colours, and the mud kitchens at WHALE. As a Data Scientist, I use data every day to find interesting patterns, power products, and to communicate. I think that using data to demonstrate benefits of anything is incredibly powerful and could potentially bring some of this to Dads Rock.

I have been a member of the Dads Rock Board of Trustees since January 2018 having been co-opted. I would like the opportunity to continue to help Dads Rock make a difference to Dads all over Edinburgh and beyond.

Chair’s note: Tom has been a co-opted member of the Board of Trustees since January 2018


 

James! - New team member

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Meet James McCulloch, our new Project Worker who started with us today.  He'll be running some of our playgroups, working 1:1 with our Young Dads, running the Dads2b classes and helping with everything else we do! 

James is a musician, comic book writer and a Dad of five, from central Scotland. He has worked in the care sector for the last 15 years in various capacities, including training and one to one care.

He is looking forward to his new position within Dads Rock, and relishes the challenges ahead as he works towards supporting Dads through good times, bad times, and all those bits inbetween.

 

Kiltwalk 2018 - Join us!

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We would love you to join our Kiltwalk team for the Wee Wander – a 5 mile stroll for the whole family and walkers of all ages and experience.

The Wee Wander sets off from Gypsy Brae on Sunday 16th Sepmber, at 12pm giving you time to trek to BT Murrayfield for the after party. 

In return for promising to raise funds* for Dads Rock, we will give you FREE entry to the event along with your walker guide, meal voucher, Dads Rock T-shirt, Kiltwalk finishers medal, refreshment on route and entertainment at the after party. The even better news is that for every penny you raise an extra 40% will be added on top thanks to the support of The Hunter Foundation.  There are limited spaces available. 

Why take part?

  • Be part of a positive experience
  • Raise funds for Dads Rock
  • Keep fit
  • Experience the great outdoors
  • It’s fun for the whole family 

Funds raised for Dads Rock through the Kiltwalk will go towards our fantastic free playgroups. They are fun, positive and rocking places to be catering for over 250 children a year and their dads. They are a place where men can learn from each other, build confidence, spend quality time with their children and have a load of fun. We play together, make friends, learn to draw, read stories, count, investigate, go on trips, make pancakes, generally mess about and have a great time.

Of course if you would rather challenge yourself and take part in the Mighty Stride at 24 miles or the Big Stroll at 15.5 miles we’d be happy to support you with your registration and fundraising too! Just contact lisa@dadsrock.org.uk for more information.

Want to join us? Then email lisa@dadsrock.org.uk and you will be sent sign up information and a special code to join our team.

Thank you,

From all of us at Dads Rock - Thomas, Barry & Lisa

*fundraising targets are £35 per adult and £15 per child so a family of 4 should raise £100! And don’t forget that extra 40%! If just 10 families take part we can raise £1,400 – enough to buy all the drinks and snacks we provide at ou playgroups for a year.

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Mud Kitchen! - Skyscanner #oneday

On Friday the 16th of June we were lucky enough to have a team of volunteers from Skyscanner support us on a variety of tasks, some volunteers helped us with our IT, Marketing and Data management, and a group of four brave souls took on the task of creating our first Mud Kitchen! 

The kitchen is for use at our Wester Hailes playgroup at WHALE The team of four dads from Skyscanner were joined by our Barry, check out below for their work.  Our kids have made good use of the mud kitchen so far! 

A Mum's view on Dads2b

Recently we had a visitor to our Dads2b classes as Thomas’s wife Rachael aka the photographer behind Beautiful Bairns Photography popped along to take some photos for us to use on the website. When there a few of the dads jumped on the chance to ask a mum for her opinion on a few things and we thought it would make a great blog post.

Over to Rachael - 

A few weeks ago I visited the Dads Rock dads2b classes to take some behind the scenes photos for the DR website and blog. Shortly after I arrived one of the Dads approached me to ask me “as a mum” what they could do to support their partners and “not p*ss her off” which I thought was a great question! 

I think for dads to be it's a difficult position to be in as many can feel helpless and a bit removed from everything. So what can Dads do to help? The simple answer is  - lots! No you can't push the baby out, you can't take her pain away, but you can do a lot of things to support your partner throughout pregnancy, birth and beyond. So here are a few of my top tips which I hope are of help!

Pregnancy support - how to support your partner in pregnancy

Feed me, feed me now! 

No really, pregnancy is hungry business! I never knew what “Hangry” meant until I was pregnant with our eldest son Lewis. At times I think Thomas felt like throwing food at me like a lion in the zoo, he knew I was hungry as I would be mega grumpy for absolutely no reason! This can be hormonal but can also be related to growth and both make pregnant ladies hungry and if we don't get fed we can be shall we say, less pleasant than usual ;) 

So you will score HUGE brownie points if you can preempt her hunger, take snacks with you when you go out (its training for when you have a hungry toddler, trust me!) and try and make her dinner once or twice a week. But mainly just try to remember its not her being a grump, she is growing your child which is hard work and tiring!

The itchy and scratchy show!

No, not the quirky cartoon but instead the relentless itch that can come with pregnancy and drive us slightly demented! One of the less than fabulous side effects of pregnancy can be itchy skin. For me it presented mostly on my legs and was always more annoying at night when tired and wanting to get to sleep. So if your partner suffers the same you will score major brownie points if you can grab a nice massage oil and massage it into any itchy areas so your partner can relax. There isn't much that's more frustrating when you're enormously pregnant that lying in bed writhing in discomfort while your other half snores soundly next to you in complete oblivion. 

FEAR!!!!! Feel the fear and do it anyway?

Believe it or not us mums to be feel it too, so one of the biggest things you can do is to talk to your partner with honesty about your fears and concerns. Not in a way that will scare the bejesus out of her but in a way that makes her feel like she isn't the only one feeling that way. By sharing your concerns and worries you can open up and talk about the kind of parents you want to be which can only be a great thing. What do you want for your child? What are you scared of? I bet there are things that terrify you that she is excited about and v/versa! 

Labour and Birth - Holy Moly now what do I do?!

My waters have gone - aaarrrggghhh!!!!!!!!!!! Panic Stations! We are go! Baby is coming! Oh wait…. Maybe not….. 

Man its confusing - has labour started or not? Do we need to get to the hospital or not? well for the most part I will say you should call the hospital once her waters break so they know you are getting started and then take it from there. As labour progresses its a good idea to refer back to your birthing plan to check in with what you and your partner discussed previously. 

Comfort is key so do what you can to keep her comfortable in terms of temperature, pain, hydration, hunger, space, noise etc. This will vary wildly for each woman so ask why she needs and truly listen. If she is happy and comfortable to go to bed for a few hours then you should too. You will both need your strength soon!

Baby is here - what now?

Well first of all - congrats! You're a daddy! 

You probably already have your hospital bag on hand with the key things so here are a couple of personal recommendations of products that we have used that got us through those first few months.

  • Arnica tablets - I tell all of my mums to take these. No matter the method of delivery mums body needs to heal after birth. Much like arnica cream heals bruises the tablets heal all areas of the body that need it. 100% natural and completely safe to take when breastfeeding. Buy in your local Boots/Holland & Barrett. 
  • MAM self sterilising bottles - no need for a bulky steriliser you just need a microwave. If you decide to use formula these bottles are fab and make trips to friends and family much easier.
  • Aldi nappies & wipes - their mamia range is cheap and awesome! 
  • Love to dream swaddle bags - buy on amazon or from mother care, they allow baby to lie in a natural position with the ability to self soothe, Ollie slept SO much better when in one!
  • Coconut oil - great for baby massage, don't bother buying pricey ones Aldi does 100% organic cold pressed for £3.99 a jar and its just as lovely and melty as the £15+ stuff!
  • A baby swing chair is a godsend when they're little, you can pop it in the bathroom so baby can watch while you shower, take into the kitchen when making dinner. Easy to pick up 2nd hand for round £15 you don't need a fancy one with 45 functions, a simple swing is fab
  • White noise! Babies love white noise as its never quiet in the womb so a white noise app can be great for car trips and to use at home. Plenty of free ones to choose from so find one and try out the different noises to see what your little one finds the most soothing

Father's Day Family Event

Thank you to everyone who came to our 5th Father's Day Family Event.  We were back at the gorgeous Botanic Garden today, we had art, balloon modelling, dancing, Lego, massage, music classes, face painting, outdoor play, stories and Yoga!   

We were joined by the following lovely people: Bambino Beats, Caterpillar Music, CeilidhKids, Edinburgh Palette, Edinburgh Sketcher, Green Team, Gymboree Music and play, Monkey Music, Post a story club, Pure Brilliant Events, Scottish Book Trust, Step it up Dance, Tatty Bumpkin Yoga, WHALE Arts Agency.

We had a fantastic day, here's some photos of the day...

Dads* Night - Canal View

Last night was our first ever Dads* Night at Canal View Primary.  We had over 200 dads, granddads, step dads, brothers, uncles etc. and their kids come along to spend a few hours with us and others to have fun. 

We had Art from Edinburgh Sketcher and WHALE arts, Dancing from Ceilidhkids, Stories from Mrs Mash, face painting and balloon modelling from Pure Brilliant Events, Food from Jayne Totty, Football from Hearts, Music from Dads Rock Academy, Parkour from Access Parkour, Planting from Edible Estates, Outdoor play from The Green Team, and Yoga from Tatty Bumpkin

Here's some pictures. 

Dads in Dining Hall