My wish for the new year: think of the small local charities in our communities

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"We're here to help one another" - Thomas Lynch of Dads Rock looks to the year ahead

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4th January 2019 by TFN Guest 0 Comments

A teacher once asked me, “what’s it all about?”

I replied: it’s about being there for others, helping one another and making life better.

To be honest, I’m paraphrasing a wee bit, and it was a few years ago, but that’s that is how I remember the conversation going.

It was one of those key moments in my life when a grown up took the time to listen to me and wanted to know what I thought. When I reflect on it now, I was believe I was saying that we just needed to be loved, and to love. 

Thomas Lynch

Thomas Lynch

We need charities of all sizes, but we especially need the wee ones, and more importantly the wee ones really need all of us.

After I left university, I worked for the man, in a bank. It was a job I fell into, like a lot of people in Edinburgh.

I started in the call centre, met some really great people. I worked in the bank for 14 years, at one point I managed 30 people, or perhaps that was mismanaged. Either way I really cared for them, it was a pleasure to be their manager and to help them, but it was all too much for me.

I was bullied twice by managers, I remember sitting at my desk in tears and thinking this doesn’t feel right. I felt like I was letting everyone down, at home and at work, and knew I couldn’t carry on, something had to give.

My stress levels were through the roof and my mental health was not good. Luckily my wife was excellent and helped me see that another way was possible, I moved departments and whilst still being really busy, I was at least happier and felt valued.

However I felt I wanted more, and needed more. Dads Rock was born from this, and from meeting another dad who was thinking the same - David Marshall. Together David and I created something new, shiny and just a wee bit special.  

Starting a charity was daunting, there was so much paperwork and support needed. We were lucky to have funding and support at the right time. When you have funding it is amazing what you can achieve, you have the freedom to not worry about money all the time, to try new things and push yourself and others to ensure you are making the most of the time and money you have.

Then despite everyone’s hard work the funding disappears. It is heart breaking.

You need to make really tough decisions, jobs are cut, and services are cut. People have to find new jobs, dads and families have to find other places to support them, and perhaps join ever increasing waiting lists. 

You do all you can to convince the funders you are carrying out important work, but competition is tough, and there’s a lot of need out there. To say this is frustrating is an understatement.

It’s been a challenging time over the last year or so. I think the challenges will keep coming, and perhaps they need to. After all someone has to pay for the funding, the money comes from someone, somewhere, and it is right that they can see the impact the money has. The money also needs to be spent on the right things.

Over the last year, through the funding difficulties we have had I found myself questioning our existence, do we still deserve to be here? Are we doing the right work? How can we do more? And do it better?

I believe in Dads Rock, I believe Dads Rock deserves to be here, and for me as long as there’s still situations where we fail to give Dads and families the support they need, then Dads Rock needs to be here. There’s so much more to do, we need to work harder to help people see the impact and the difference Dads Rock makes.

We need to make sure we are talking more about the range of work we do, supporting vulnerable young dads, working in primary and secondary schools. People know us for our playgroups and for the NHS Lothian Dads2b course we help facilitate with them.      

We see so many people (especially at this time of year) doing truly amazing things to ensure others have the basics in life.

At no point would I want to argue against any of that. My one ask of us all is to think of the small local charities in our communities.

What little steps can we all take to help them survive? They really know their areas, their communities, they are vital. Yes we need charities of all sizes, but we especially need the wee ones, and more importantly the wee ones really need all of us.

I still believe we’re here to help one another after all. To make life better, and to love and be loved.

You can read more about the new Dads Rock campaign for our playgroups here: NYR Join our New Year’s Resolutions #teamDadsRock #NYR #NewYearsResolutions.

Thomas Lynch is service manager at Dads Rock.