Fatherhood means a lot to me. I consider myself fortunate to have a child I’m caring for, forget the fact it is has been a long journey I’ve had to negotiate to even be in a position of co-parenting. All I know from day one I’ve stepped into something incredible and I wouldn’t step out for anything.

In my line of work, criminal youth justice, it brings me in contact with a lot of Newham children and the nagging observation has always been “Where are the father’s to these children?"

Boys need their Father’s input, influence and intervention period.

I don’t know the story behind where the fathers are but it’s about time to facilitate an encouraging engagement with these men. Too often we wait for a problem and name it but I want us to be ahead of problems and drawn in strengths to what is perceived as a challenge. The forum is a creative step towards placing men in the same space, with a united purpose of respect, empathy, and solidarity.

Culturally fatherhood takes on so many rich interpretations of what being a man can be. As a man of African heritage born in the UK, I have diversity within myself to contend with and express constructively. I’ve always valued shaping my ideas in the midst of like and different minded men if at all possible.

What will remain consistent as a father is the presence of mind to look at what you can do with boldness and do it, believe that a physical presence of time is most valued and recognise we have many allies around who can support our individual efforts.

The newly formed Newham Fathers United with Purpose Programme aims to empower local fathers to educate, support and impact their families, local services and the wider community in a number of ways.

The forum puts us in touching distance of a rich network of men, bringing to fruition new services and raising the profile of excellent examples in Newham.

Come and join us for our launch event to discover how you can get involved in areas such as financial support, understanding the legal system in relationship to childcare arrangements, providing nutritious family meals on a budget, mental health and emotional wellness support.

The event will be hosted by local fathers and males working within the local community and will be the opportunity for you to hear more about the programme and how you can get involved whilst having a drink and light refreshments in the informal surroundings of Tracks.

The Newham Fathers United With Purpose Programme launches Wednesday 21st September, 6pm-8pm at Tracks. Register via Eventbrite here.