Dan is a Family Support Worker at Tŷ Hafan and much of his role is focused on working with dads to help them navigate life with an unwell child, connect with other dads going through similar challenges and to support them through bereavement and beyond.
“For some dads, and especially for dads with children with a life-shortening condition, Father’s Day can be just like any other day. They could be in hospital with their unwell child or focusing all their time and energy on supporting them with their complex needs. For a dad whose child has died, Father’s Day can be a very difficult time,” explains Dan.
Dan completely tailors the support he offers to what each individual needs at that time.
“Men sometimes find it hard to share their feelings. Some would rather speak to another dad going through similar issues, some want to talk to me directly and some want to deal with things in their own way,” says Dan.
“I help dads engage with other dads through a common activity – maybe football or rugby or another activity to help them create contacts in an informal way. Sometimes I meet them for a coffee and we talk about anything at all.
“I’m here if they need me, whenever they need me. I think it’s the most rewarding job anybody could do.”
Dan has set up an online group called Talking Nonsense – saying, “Once a month on Zoom we talk about anything and everything! We find out all sorts about people in that group and build strong connections along the way.”
He has created a Tŷ Hafan football team, consisting of dads and significant male family members of children who use or have used Tŷ Hafan, taking part in matches with other similar groups.
“It’s always so rewarding to connect with these groups and learn how they can further help and support dads often at the most difficult of times,” adds Dan.
On Father’s Day, we thank you Dan for your incredible work with the dads at the hospice and in the community.