Flying Start Saturday Dad’s Group

Getting fathers involved is a key focus within Flying Start. The group which takes place the last Saturday of each month, based at Park Town, Bailey Street, has been recognised as a valuable resource in the community for dads and wider male family members. It is supported monthly by team members and Dad’s from the group Fatherhood Community Solutions, alongside volunteers Ashley McCormac from the University of Bedfordshire and Selwyn Jean- Baptiste, father, grandfather and mentor.

The need for a group, supporting dad’s, was identified through discussions in the Flying Start Working Together Group, a group whose function is to bring the voice of the community and families to a forum, which can help shape the development of services.  The group identified a need for fathers to have a space to develop relationships and a safe environment to discuss factors that have impacted the journey of becoming a parent.  Increasingly, research highlights that dads emotional and mental health is often less focused on during the perinatal period.


The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) found one in three new fathers had concerns about their mental health yet it often goes unacknowledged.

Fathers today spend much more time with their young children than they did 30 years ago. Research shows that fathers play a crucial role in young children’s development and that the early years are particularly important.

The group is made up of uncles, grandfathers, and extended family members who support the uniqueness of blended families within the Luton communities and national context.

The sessions are organised to reflect the Early Years Foundation Stage framework of learning and development, with structured support for informal discussions.  These discussions have a male lead and focus on various topics such as Men and Mental Health, and balancing work and family life.

The group is now a well-established part of the Flying Start programme delivery.  It has been supported by Luton Town’s local hero Ricky Hill and Elliott Rae the curator of the bestselling book ‘DAD’, which featured on the BBC documentary ‘Becoming Dad’.  Elliott Rae was diagnosed with PTSD after the traumatic birth of his daughter. It is that experience which has led him to dedicate his life’s work to create spaces for more open conversations around fatherhood.

Elliott supported the Flying Start Luton Dads Saturday group with signed copies of his book in recognition of International Men’s Day in November 2022.

Please share details of the group with family, friends and colleagues;