Posted inNews

Two Torfaen men want new and expectant dads to sign up for free parenting course.

three men sat on a bench smiling at camera
(l to r) Elliott Hill, Andrew Mainwaring and Jacob Guy, from Torfaen Council

Two Torfaen men are encouraging new and expectant dads to sign up for a free parenting course.

For Dads, By Dads, is run by Torfaen Council, and takes place for two hours a week over ten weeks. The weekly workshops feature talks aimed at dads. The topics  include baby first aid, midwife information and health and wellbeing

Elliott Hill, 29, from Pontnewynydd, and Andrew Mainwaring, 31, from Cwmbran, both became dads in 2022 and each named their son Oliver.

Elliot said: “Having the information that they give you in the group is fantastic but what is probably more powerful than that is the social aspect of it. Because now there is a group of dads, who meet up for socials.

“We all met up down here for the Cwmbran Big Event which was lovely. It was nice to finally meet some of the partners and the kids as well. It’s nice to know you’re not alone.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, it’s such an inclusive group. There is no judgment. You can walk into that room and you feel you can talk about the hardest things. It’s nice to have that space where you’ve got people actively encouraging you to become better.”

three men sat on a bench smiling at camera
The three men want to encourage more dads to sign up for the free course

‘Perfect to get to know other dads’

Andrew said: “When the dad group came about it was perfect for me to get to know other dads. The only person I knew (in this area) was my partner and her family. So going to the dad group helped give me the support I needed to better myself, it was really good.

“Some of the sessions like the first aid were brilliant. They really resonated with me.

“The last session was about setting a mindset and setting goals and achieving them. I just recently got a promotion from work and it’s getting steps ready now for where I want this promotion to take me to, because there are a couple of different avenues that I can take. And fitness as well, I’m going to get back into martial arts because I used to do that.

“It was fantastic because it’s not only a great mood lifter as you’re getting out, socialising, learning all these new things but there are things you can take from being a dad and put it into real life.”

Dads-to-be and dads of toddlers

Elliot said the group was a mix of men who would be dads in a few months and new dads. He explained that this helped them talk, learn and share advice with each other.

“They’ve had a few people in, specialists that aren’t necessarily dad specific. They’ve had midwives in and stuff to enable us to understand what mums go through and also what to expect. I was already past that point and wish I knew before because we had quite a traumatic time. It went from ‘you’re fine, you’re fine’ to ‘right, we’ve got to go and get an emergency c-section’. So having that midwife come in and talk about the ideal situation and actually some of the complications that can happen, but not to worry too much, was helpful.

Andrew said: “We got to talk about how our babies are growing and what they’re doing new or like something to look out for. I was worrying about my boy’s nappy rash and he was being sick. One of the dads, he told me about this stuff, I can’t remember what it was called. It’s the stuff you put in their gums and that really helped him. It’s just a really good support network.”

What are the best things about being a dad?

Elliot said: “He’s starting climbing over things and now he’s walking and he’s got a bit of cheek on him. It’s just lovely, it’s bloody hard work. I’ve enjoyed seeing my partner grow into the role of mum and seeing her change and develop. They become such strong women.

“I remember the excitement of my partner realising his first tooth was coming out, and the first time he laughed properly. It’s like, there are moments you’re never going to forget. Although you’ve brought this life into this world, it’s an honour to be there watching them do it.”

Andrew said “I love watching Oliver grow and learn. He’s just recently started walking and he’s starting to babble a lot. He says ‘mum, dad and dog’. It’s just a fantastic feeling when he was taking his first steps. He’s starting to reach for stuff off the counter so now have to baby-proof the house.

“When they start growing up and realising what’s going on around them, your household family comes together. It’s me, my fiancée and our little boy and it’s a sense of pride, of how far we’ve come. We’re raising this little human and he’s developing. I just feel so proud of that.”

What would you say to men thinking about doing For Dads, By Dads?

Elliot said: “It’s there to help if you need help, it’s there to be a social thing if you need it to be a social thing. It’s there to understand what the hell you’re doing. I’ve spoken to people I know who are becoming dads and it’s like ‘it’s not for me, I don’t need that’.

“It’s free, it’s on your doorstep. It’s ten weeks, 20 hours. The good thing is there is a social network. I’ve met up with a few of the guys to go for a walk. There is another guy I’m meeting up with to do some runs locally.

“It’s not all doom and gloom, it’s the best thing that’s ever happened. I love the new life.”

Jacob Guy, from Torfaen Council, said: “It’s been a privilege to work with the guys on the programme. From the moment they have come in through the door, we have wanted to create a safe space where all dads feel happy and confident to be able to talk and listen. From this, the dads have grown in confidence, independence and made amazing friendships with fellow dads.

“Every dad is different. Some dads want to come and meet new dads. Other dads have additional needs and want to get out of the course, so it’s our job to work with them and offer whatever support we can to help them be the best dads they can be. It’s amazing that these men are not just investing in their babies and families but also in themselves for a better future.”

For Dads, By Dads

For Dads, By Dads was devised following research by a number of organisations, including Fathers Outreach, Tidy Butt, Gwent Psychology, Recoveries 4 All and Newport County in the Community.

They found men benefited from having a safe space where they can ask questions and learn about themselves and their children as they start their journey of being a dad. The support groups will help them prepare for the change in their life that a child will bring.

Sign up for September 2023

The next course will start in September 2023. Complete the booking form here.

For more information contact Jacob Guy on 07980 682256 or email


Posted inUncategorized

Two Torfaen men want new and expectant dads to sign up for free parenting course.