Why Leeds Dads support group was founded and how you can help its Dadtastic Day plans

Lecturer, video journalist, camera mentor, dad – Errol Murray has done many things in his life and one of those was founding voluntary charitable organisation Leeds Dads.

Monday, 25th March 2019, 6:03 pm
Updated Monday, 25th March 2019, 6:08 pm
Errol Murray, the founder of Leeds Dads, pictured at his family home.

A group of dads who wanted to spend more time with their children set up their own playground in a cafe in Leeds city centre back in April of 2011.

Eight years later, Leeds Dads is an award-winning child-friendly organisation that welcomes hundreds of fathers in the city.

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Supporting dads to actively engage with their children, helping them to build strong and lasting relationships; Leeds Dads meets on the third Sunday of the month at The Tetley Arts Centre.

Mr Murray said: “I was always working away when our daughter Rayya was born and wanted to get more quality time with her, but didn’t know what to do.

“Dads are still a bit of a rarity at playgroups, so I felt slightly awkward and out of place there. So I started Leeds Dads, with just a handful of friends and their kids. One of the biggest challenges we faced involved enrolling new dads. I used to meet other dads in parks, childrens centres, A&E wards, and I’d tell them about the group.

“Foolishly, I didn’t even have flyers.

“Some people must have thought I was mad, but I met some of Leeds Dads’ longest standing members this way.

“Some dads would come and be exhausted, not keen to talk. But they’d be back again and again.

“This told me that a group was definitely needed, although I’ve had to work hard to make it what I think dads needed.”

In June 2016, Mr Murray put together Dadtastic Day. Around 1,900 people attended the free family fun day at Leeds City Museum on Father’s Day.

Singalongs, ‘baby raves’ and contemporary dance were among the long list of activities provided.

Dadtastic is back this year on June 16 and Mr Murray is currently looking for sponsors to help with the event.

Visit the Leeds Dads website for more information on its activities.

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