We are a charity assisting parents and grandparents experiencing problems having contact with their own children / grandchildren, usually due to parental separation. We assist people of both sexes. Because 92% of non-resident parents are fathers, our service users are overwhelmingly male. We are separate from the English FNF and have been an independent registered charity since 2009. We operate primarily in Wales though we also receive some referrals from England. We aim to further the emotional development and wellbeing of children whose parents have separated by encouraging constructive relationships between the parents and promoting shared parenting arrangements. We also conduct research into associated issues, such as the Welsh Dads’ Surveys and surveys into men’s experience of domestic abuse.
Our main business is usually conducted via monthly meetings held at ten locations throughout Wales. We provide free one-to-one legal advice to service users through our LawWorks clinics. We are the largest provider of these in Wales. We see over one thousand attendances at our meetings annually, with around 400 new service users per year.
A large part of our service is provision of evidencing to support applications for legal aid in family court cases. In 2019 we produced more than 200 evidence letters to enable men to access Legal Aid. Increasingly, people are referred to us by solicitors and other agencies.
In response to findings from our surveys, we have recently started a Buddy Scheme which aims to provide emotional support to highly distressed clients, predominantly from volunteers and the service users themselves. Associated with this we carry out mental wellbeing and loneliness measures with our service users as standard.
Our service users are strongly skewed to the disadvantaged; half are unemployed and two-thirds earn less than £12,000 pa. Nearly two-thirds of our service users report being the victim of domestic abuse. This distressing picture was confirmed by our survey of male victims. In response to this, in April 2019 we started a separate service for male victims of domestic abuse, “Aegis”, based on weekly, one-hour, drop-in sessions at each of two locations in South Wales.
The charity’s work is conducted largely by volunteers with less than two full time equivalent salaried staff. Our work is only made possible by grants from a number of sources, and by solicitors working with us under the LawWorks scheme – and, crucially, by our volunteers.
National Manager: Paul Apreda, Paul@fnf-bpm.org.uk
Alternative Contact: Rick Bradford, RickatMerlinHaven@hotmail.com
Facebook: Families Need Fathers – Both Parents Matter Cymru