Did you know that 42% of all carers in the UK are male? Carers in Bedfordshire recognise that men struggle more than women to access support services, and male carers in our regular parent carer groups can be few and far between.
One of our Parent Carers, Fred, shared his story with Carers in Bedfordshire. He told us how his experience of being a male carer lacked contact with other Dads in similar situations, and that even though he was the main carer for his son, all correspondence concerning his son's care automatically went to his wife. What Fred needed was an opportunity for Dads to have a chance to connect with male carers in the same situation as himself.
I’ve been made very welcome at Parents Together and feel that my experiences raising my son may be of value to others going through similar challenges. Even if the specifics of the conditions that our children have may differ, I’m amazed by the similarities in parents’ experiences - the impacts on family life, work and even health. What's missing for me as a Dad, is other Dads."
Our solution? An evening Dad’s group!
Carers in Bedfordshire’s Dad’s group had its first meeting on 12th February. Since then the group has met six times, and although still small, the regular men attending have gained loads from it.
As parent carers themselves, our Parent Carer support team, Darran and Jon, know what it’s like, and have created a safe space for Dads to feel understood and supported.
"As a dad of a young man with Autism, my life is a constant roller-coaster of emotions. But as a man I can find it very difficult to express or explain these emotions without a fear of being judged. Whilst my son was growing up his mum had a large support network of friends that just seemed to ‘get it’, whereas I had no-one. What I needed is a group of people that ‘get it’ from a dad’s perspective. 20 years later and we’ve created that space, that group, where people don’t judge and where we ‘get it’."
Jon adds, “We are breaking down the isolation that dads/male carers feel. Often they feel they can’t be open with their feelings or emotions for fear of upsetting their partner or making the situation worse.”
Come along, chat, read the papers, play some pool or just drink the coffee. But, most importantly, come along a meet other like-minded dads.
Fred's full story can be accessed via our Summer Magazine which you can read online by clicking here.
You don't have to be a parent carer to benefit from our groups for men, our Dad's Group is open to all male carers!
Come along to the Bedford Office on the 3rd Monday of the month, 7pm - 9pm and meet other male carers who understand you and your situation. £2 entrance fee.