Ms RYALL (Ringwood) — I commend Tom Docking in my local community for his initiative and drive in founding Dads Group Inc. We can all relate to mums groups — they have been around for as long as we can remember — which are a great support and help create friendships based on shared interests and local support. I know I found my mums group invaluable.
Becoming a parent is daunting and exciting, but it most often results in a change in relational dynamics and focus. This can have all sorts of impacts. While the support through mums groups has always been there, there has not been that same support for dads, who face challenges and have needs of their own for support. Dads Group Inc. provides that network and support. It provides the technology through an app for dads to connect with an existing group or start their own group locally. Dads Group Inc. is well supported by Manningham Rotary. Dads groups hang out together regularly; they do coffee, barbecues, kick the footy, and as they say, they do what they love doing best — chatting and chilling with other dads while hanging out with their kids.
The Ringwood Dads Group is growing rapidly. At a recent barbecue I counted 18 dads with their little ones, including newborns and toddlers and even very, very young twins. Healthy families are really important, and dads groups are an awesome initiative that allow guys to get to know and support each other, talk and meet new mates, not to mention giving their partners a well‑earnt rest. We are going to see dads groups rolled out across Victoria, and I am proud to support such a fantastic initiative. I congratulate Tom Docking on outstanding work, on seeing a gap that needed to be filled and on helping to create heathy dads and healthy families.