Pioneering fathers' support group launched in Romford
PUBLISHED: 18:00 03 March 2012
A pioneering scheme has been launched in Romford to provide support for dads affected by family breakdown.
Christian charity Fathers Outreach and the Romford Salvation Army are putting on regular activity sessions for fathers to support them as they try to cope with the experience of divorce and difficulties seeing their children.
The Romford-based scheme is a pilot which the charity hopes will become a model for the rest of the country.
It held its first meeting on Monday at the Salvation Army, High Street, Romford, where the group discussed what it will work on in the future.
The group plans to hold activities for dads and their children, as well as social gatherings for separated dads and one-to-one assistance with things like attending court and counselling.
Tom Jones, founder of Fathers Outreach, says he started the group after going through a damaging divorce and custody battle.
The 29-year-old, from Harrow, said: “There isn’t another group like this, where dads can support other dads who’ve been through the experience of losing their children.
“We had a network ready to start working on this in Romford and we know there is a need.
“There’s a busy family court just up the road (Romford County Court), and the Salvation Army have seen demand for it.
“You see signs outside solicitors saying ‘drop in and see us’ but they charge £200 an hour, we want to offer advice for free.”
He added: “We know what it’s like to lose everything that matters, because we’ve been there.
“It’s too much to expect anyone to bear alone.”
Major David Evans, of the Salvation Army, said: “Family breakdown is a leading cause of homelessness, suicide and many other problems for countless people in our community.
“This innovative new venture working with fathers complements our existing family programmes.”
The group will be holding free drop-in advice surgery sessions at the Salvation Army on Wednesdays from midday to 5pm.
There will also be sessions tomorrow (Saturday) and on March 10 from 10am-midday, while other events are being planned.
Fathers from other parts of Greater London and Essex are welcome to attend.
For more information about the group visit www.fathersoutreach.org.uk