A LIFELINE charity for families with young children in Inverclyde is stepping in to support local dads.

Greenock Telegraph: Home Start Inverclyde

The Home Start Inverclyde project is running a much needed group for fathers and their children, which meets on Saturdays.

Parent group worker Michelle McKechnie, a former foster carer, has teamed up with volunteer Ruth Tosh to run the sessions.

After talking to families they realised there was a lack of opportunities for dads to spend time with their children and be part of a community at the same time.

Greenock Telegraph: Home Start Inverclyde dads group

Together they are providing a warm welcoming space full of fun activities, and a chance for dads to get know one another.

Michelle said: "It was something that we know that is badly needed. There are many dads out there who maybe work all week and the only chance they get to spend time with their children is a Saturday.

"But it is hard to find somewhere to go that doesn't cost a lot of money all the time.

"This is a chance for dads to do arts and crafts and activities with their kids. It is like a warm space for dads.

"We provide some food and refreshments as well. We are hoping to get as many dads along as we can."

Greenock Telegraph: Home Start Inverclyde dads group

Home Start Inverclyde, which is based in Hood Street, offers help to families with children under the age of five.

Greenock Telegraph:

Michelle, who runs the dads group and a parent support one, has vast experience in the family support field, working in early education as well as fostering.

She said: "I have been volunteering for about five years. Home Start Inverclyde is a brilliant organisation. I have supported two families on a one to one basis who I still keep in touch with. I now do the peer groups and they're fantastic."

Greenock Telegraph: Home Start Inverclyde dads group

Volunteer Ruth, 45, from Gourock, added: "When we were speaking to our families a lot of the mums told us there was not a lot of place for their husbands and partners to get the same level of support.

"It is lovely to be able to step in and help like this and it's great seeing the dads enjoying the company and also doing activities with their wee ones."

Greenock dad Kris Ahara, 24, is enjoying spending time with his one-year-old Lillie-Skye at the dads club.

He said: "It is brilliant, I love going along and seeing Lillie having fun with other kids, laughing away. I work Monday to Friday so Saturday is a chance for my partner Antonia to get a break and it is daddy and daughter time.

"It's isn't easy to find somewhere to go that is not too expensive. It doesn't cost a lot which is important.

"I am the only wage earner in the house. When you don't get paid for another week and you only have £20 to last you it is good to have somewhere like the dads group.

"It is great to meet other dads and get a bit of company as well. When you are working all week and you are busy, you don't get much time to spend with mates."

Greenock dad John Green is single and co-parents his three-year-old daughter Ela.

John, who works with Amey, said: "Our time is split 50-50, so I have every second weekend. I think most groups are geared towards mums as they drop off mostly at childcare and go to other things like playgroup.

"It is nice to go somewhere and find other dads, somewhere I can feel totally comfortable and get a chat.

"What's good about it is that it is not a creche, you spend quality time with one another. That is good because both parents and children spend far too much of their time looking at phones and tablets instead of doing things together."

Greenock Telegraph: Home Start Inverclyde dads group

Home Start Inverclyde run their dads group every Saturday morning from 10am to noon. To find out more call 01475 603441 or email hello@hsri.org.uk