Father's Network Scotland

Project Type: Strategy
Region: Scotland
A new clarity of vision for the future has ensured that Fathers Network Scotland can expand their services, celebrating the importance of fathers in child development and parenting.

Black and white father and son gentle kissFathers Network Scotland is building a father-friendly world for families, from its contribution to research and national policy through to local events, resources and support.

The charity was formed in 2008 by a group of fathers, workers and professionals responding to a perceived lack of resources and support for Fathers.   

Its mission today is to drive positive cultural change by inspiring organisations, communities and individuals to engage, support and empower men to be the fathers they want to be.

The aims of Fathers Network Scotland (FNS) are to promote the physical, mental and emotional health of fathers in Scotland through the provision of support to men in all aspects of their role as fathers, and to raise awareness and increase understanding of the importance of fathers in child development and parenting.  The FNS also aims to advance education through the development and promotion of good practice in all aspects of work with fathers and the production and dissemination of information and research related to fatherhood and work with fathers. 

The Fathers Network Scotland places emphasis in working in partnership with others to deliver its objectives, for example, developing ways of better engaging fathers at the antenatal stage with the National Childbirth Trust (NCT), Children in Scotland, and NHS Lothian.

From its beginnings as a seed project in 2008, to an established and respected catalyst of change, working with government and business today, Fathers Network Scotland has achieved a lot. However, there is still significant, increasing demand for its services.

In light of this the Board and Executive team have worked hard to clarify the strategic priorities for the organisation, with a focus on influencing policy and supporting best practice.   

Working through this process they recognised further work was required to translate these priorities into agreed actions and timeframes – and that they would benefit from advice and skills from outside of their team.  Following on from a referral from a Scottish funder, The Robertson Trust, they approached The Cranfield Trust for the support of a volunteer to help them develop a business plan to support their focused and sustainable development, expanding service delivery and diversifying funding options.

David Drysdale, Head of Development at Fathers Network Scotland, talked through his exact requirements with Jane Whitworth, the Cranfield Trust’s Scotland Project Manager, agreeing on the need for a practical road map to guide and inform the charity’s future development. Jane then identified volunteer consultant Iain McKinven to work with him, knowing that Iain’s precise skill set would make him a good match.

Man carrying small child on beach Iain is currently an independent change management professional, with many years’ experience driving large scale change for a number of major corporates in a variety of roles, including a spell as Business Intelligence Director at Lloyds Banking Group. He was delighted to work with the team at Fathers Network Scotland, whom he describes as “first rate people - insightful, passionate and committed.” He enjoyed the project and explains how he was able to bring his own business expertise to ensure a professional approach which would resonate with funders and partners.

 “With exceptional open-mindedness and willingness to invest in the relationship from the client, I felt that we quickly managed to identify specific areas in which we could work together to marry up commercial-type focus with a sense of the imperative of the organisation to help shape a pragmatic, balanced business plan.”                                               

father and son smiling togetherDouglas was delighted with the results of Iain’s work, coinciding as it did with Fathers Network Scotland launching their Year of the Dad, to bring greater awareness of their work.

“It was great to have mentoring expertise from someone willing to give time to improve a charity’s mission and delivery. Iain provided a skill set and perspective we didn't have from the private sector, and listened and reflected our needs. Working with The Cranfield Trust has been a pleasure and significantly useful to grow our organisation.

“We had been able to secure significant funding for the Year of the Dad campaign and having this support in place will have added confidence in Fathers Network Scotland to deliver and be monitored on finance and delivery. We are now in a better place to maximise the impact of the campaign and thus better placed to meet the needs of employers, services and families across Scotland.”

Summing up his involvement with the charity, volunteer Iain concluded:

“Thank you Fathers Network Scotland and The Cranfield Trust for an exceptional opportunity to help a first rate team during a pivotal phase of transition and growth. I am full of admiration for FNS and how they have risen to numerous challenges to achieve their goal of a step up in profile and impact.”