So I volunteer for Families Need Fathers Scotland.
I was at its regular Glasgow meeting last night in Merchant City, and listened to a number of really sad stories from parents feeling pretty lost within Scotland’s family civil justice system, and helped a few of them regain some direction in their efforts to maintain a healthy relationship with their children. The meeting can be quite helpful for parents as it provides them with an opportunity to mingle with peers going through a similar experience, so check out the website for meetings in your location around the country.FNF Scotland a registered Scottish charity with three staff: Ian Maxwell (national manager), John Forsyth (communications) and Alastair Williamson (outreach and partnership development). Its purposes according to the constitution are:
- For the relief of parents and their children and other close family members living in Scotland, or having a family member in Scotland, who are suffering from the consequences of divorce or separation by providing advice, assistance and other support and, in so doing, helping parents stay in touch with their children after divorce or separation;
- To further the emotional development of children in Scotland whose parents have divorced or separated by encouraging shared parenting arrangements which enable such children to have continuing and meaningful relationships with both their parents; and
- To conduct study and research into problems concerned with children in Scotland who are deprived of the presence of a parent in their families, and into the problems concerned with establishing good relations between parents living apart from their children, and to publish the useful results of all such study and research in order to encourage appropriate changes in professional and public opinion.
They gratefully acknowledge the financial support received from the Scottish Government and the Tudor Trust, alongside the donations and fundraising undertaken by members and people who they have supported.
FNF Scotland is not a ‘fathers for justice’ group and they don’t come to meetings dressed as Batman!
As an example of the work they do, they’ve recently appointed a student intern to carry out research into the benefits of shared parenting. Shared parenting is when both parents are actively involved in all aspects of their children’s lives and share meaningful parenting responsibility. Children gain different things from fathers and mothers or from two same-sex parents, and therefore can benefit from shared parenting whether the parents live in the same or different households. The intern, Beth Nandwani, will be preparing a report on shared parenting which will include details from academic research, and also interviews with parents about the shared parenting they have achieved and the issues they face. The internship is through the University of Edinburgh Employed scheme, funded by Santander, and the report will be used to promote shared parenting and help those who are trying to achieve it, and also as part of FNF Scotland’s lobbying work to encourage reform of Scots family law.
Beth will be carrying out interviews with parents to find out how they made shared parenting work and what problems were faced along the way, as well as what advice can be passed on. If you would be interested in becoming involved in this project, email her for further details or ring the Edinburgh office on 0131 557 2440.
Visit the FNF Scotland site for more details on their work, and thanks for reading.