Our test and learn approach to developing new programmes and interventions is an integral part of A Better Start Southend and our new Dad Lab that the Fatherhood Institute are currently developing will bring that approach to the fore. The Dad Lab, planned to get underway in late 2017, will build on the co-production approach which has been established and led by SAVS.

Bringing together a range of people from across the ABSS areas including fathers, mothers and other professionals such as health visitors/midwives and GPs who work with families of 0–3 year-olds and have an interest in fatherhood, the Dad Labs will generate ideas for a range of father-related projects and activities which improve children’s diet and nutrition outcomes by addressing breastfeeding and early infant nutrition. Ideas that are approved by the Partnership Board will then go through our test and learn procedure. Dad Labs will meet bi-monthly and work across the six wards.

With much focus on mothers and their role in providing the best possible start for young children, it is easy for the father’s critical role to be neglected. The work will help ensure that father-inclusive practice becomes part of business as usual as ABSS develops.

Kathy Jones, Joint CEO of the Fatherhood Institute, said:

“Fathers have unique impacts on children (and mothers). The transition to fatherhood is transformative for men and a huge driver of positive behaviour change. Dads impact significantly on infant health and have a critical role in the successful establishment and maintenance of breastfeeding, smoking cessation and the prevention of obesity in children. They can also be an invaluable resource for health professionals during birth, the post-natal period and beyond because they are attuned to mothers, are often pick up on problems during labour and early signs of PND ahead of health professionals.

“The work of the Fatherhood Institute in ABS Southend aims to build on the social capital of fatherhood and establish practice change and the Dad Lab will help kick this off.”

We are recruiting members of the Dad Lab now. If you would like to find out more or get involved, please contact Kathy Jones K.Jones@fatherhoodinstitute.org.


Article published May 2017

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