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  1. ITV Report

'I had a father, but not a dad' - calls for men to get more parenting support

Dad's Can works with fathers to bring them closer to their children Credit: ITV News

A charity in Wales is calling for more funding to help dads improve their relationship with their children.

Dad's Can say one in three children grow up without their father being present, with 15-year-olds more likely to own a smartphone than have their father at home.

100,000
single parent families in Wales
Merthyr
one of the areas in Wales with the highest number of single parent families.

The charity says fathers are often isolated in the early years of childcare, in a society they say has focused more on supporting mothers. It works with fathers to help them become positive role models in their children's lives.

Nathan Urquhart worked with Dad's Can to improve his relationship with his children Credit: ITV News

Nathan Urquhart is one of around four hundred men who have taken part in the Dad's Can project during the its first three years.

He no longer has anything to do with his own father - who has been convicted of several assaults.

I had a father but the way I see it was that a father was just somebody who donated his DNA. He'd done a lot of hurt to me growing up. I was worried that I was just going to fall into what my dad was, and that terrified me.

We look up to our parents to know how to be parents - my mother had done her best but she was in work a lot, and my father had done nothing to show me what a dad should be.

– Nathan Urquhart

The charity's pilot project coaches fathers, who may have had difficult pasts, with issues such as low self-esteem, mental health and relationship breakdown.

"Dads are put into two categories - neither of which are particularly nice. We're either deadbeats, or we're breadwinners. Neither of those fit comfortably to a lot of dads."

– Nathan Urquhart

A Monmouthshire Housing Association project, the scheme is currently run across across Newport and Monmouthshire. But AM Nick Ramsey says it should be rolled out across Wales.

There's a place for projects to include women, of course there is, but I think in the past dads have been left out. So I want to see more funding in the future for projects like Dad's Can. At the end of the day, whether it's the mothers or the fathers, it's the children who really do benefit from these sort of projects.

– Nick Ramsey AM, Conservative, Monmouth

He will be holding a Short Debate in the Welsh Assembly promoting the need for the service to be funded by the Government as a pilot scheme in May.