Alnwick man praises 'DadPad' app helping new dads in Northumberland

Dads-to-be and new dads in Northumberland now have free access to the DadPad app to help them give their baby the best start in life.
Tom Bowes and son Ethan find out about the DadPad with Hannah Brydon, Family Hub community development worker.Tom Bowes and son Ethan find out about the DadPad with Hannah Brydon, Family Hub community development worker.
Tom Bowes and son Ethan find out about the DadPad with Hannah Brydon, Family Hub community development worker.

The DadPad is packed with trusted advice and support specially tailored for dads to help them gain confidence and practical skills at what can often be an overwhelming time.

It was first developed by Inspire Cornwall CIC together with the NHS and is now fast becoming the essential guide for dads.

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Tom Bowes from Alnwick has been coming to Alnwick Family Hub with his son Ethan since he was just a few months old.

Tom and wife Sarah share looking after Ethan around their work commitments and have found the play groups and activities on offer have created a valuable network of support.

Tom, who runs Greycroft B&B in the town, said: “Becoming a new dad was absolutely terrifying!

“There's very little information out there that seems to be directed towards dads. So the DadPad is great as it’s in a format that makes it feel like it's intended for you.

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“There's so much information on the internet, that you can sometimes not know where to start and just having something that brings together the information and makes it accessible is a great way to give you more confidence that you’re doing the right thing.

“I find the Family Hub has been absolutely brilliant because I'm not from the area originally so don't have a lot of friends with children of a similar age and it gives an opportunity for Ethan to socialise with children of a similar age in a safe environment."

Northumberland County Council has invested funding from its Family Hub programme and worked with the team at Inspire Cornwall CIC to make the DadPad app free.

Hard copies of the DadPad book are also available to pick up and borrow from the hubs.

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Cllr Guy Renner-Thompson, cabinet member with responsibility for inspiring young people, said: “The DadPad is a fantastic resource and we are delighted to be making this free for all dads in Northumberland through our Family Hubs.

“Feedback from families told us that dads often felt that a lot of the information available was more aimed at mums and that they are not seen as important during pregnancy and having a young child. We wanted to change that by giving them access to a trusted source of information and support that is specially designed for them.

“We have lots of dads who are already actively involved in the excellent activities taking place at our Family Hubs across the county – but we’d love to see even more.”

The DadPad provides guidance for babies and children up to the age of two. It’s particularly useful to have during paternity leave.

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Hannah Brydon covers the north of the county as one of the Family Hubs’ new community development workers.

She said: “With DadPad and everything we’re doing at the Family Hubs to engage with dads, the message we want to give is that ‘you’re important’ and we want to hear from dads and find out what they would like to see from the hubs as we continue to develop.”