A typical Saturday session will take place in private surroundings, with a relaxed and informal atmosphere and comfortable seating. With friendly faces and a “community feel” to our discussion group, new Dads are always made to feel welcome and supported by fellow bereaved Dads.
The schedule is relaxed but usually follows the following timings:
THE DADS’ CHECK-IN
Experience tells us The Dads’ Check-In is fundamentally important. Each Dad updates the Group on how they’re feeling and how they’ve been affected by recent events in their life. Dads share as much or as little as they like, with no obligation. Some find it’s an opportunity to share something they can’t with others in their life, some just like to sit and listen.
We encourage Dads to bring a photo of their child or memento to help reflect how they’re feeling.
When new Dads join us, the Check-In is extended and every Dad shares their story. This helps new Dads settle in quickly, as they realise they are part of a community with a common cause.
Each session has a main theme, which allows us to explore our grief as a Group and share our experiences. Recent themes have included…
Whilst we use the theme as a basis for discussion, we also make time to discuss whatever issue and challenges Dads are currently facing. Typically, 8-12 Dads attend each session.
Since 2011 the Group has helped dozens of Dads support each other, whether they attend regularly or not, for a short period or over some years. The atmosphere is always warm and welcoming, allowing Dads to relax, chat, laugh or cry without feeling judged.
Many Dads are unsure about attending their first session, however the majority of Dads who do attend a session do keep coming back.
Typical activities with approximate timings
En-suite overnight accommodation
Whilst the Weekends are well planned and organised, the schedule is a guide and timings are always approximate. Our Co-facilitators are skilled at allowing the discussions and activities to flow and evolve as required to cover key topics arising and reflect the mood of the group.
Occasionally sessions and activities may develop away from the plan but invariably prove rewarding for the Dads involved.
Most Dads attending stay for the whole weekend whilst some just join us for the Saturday, leaving before or after Dinner – it is up to each Dad to decide how they feel.
We plan to host a Dads’ Weekend each Spring and Autumn.
The entire costs of our two Weekends in 2019 were covered by Helen & Douglas House for which we are very grateful. We hope and plan that future Weekends will also be free for all Dads attending, or at least heavily subsidised, but this cannot be guaranteed.