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Awards for All reaches out to fathers affected by post natal depression in Wales

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Awards for All Wales
Release date:
23 7 2013

A support group to help men whose wives or partners are suffering from post natal depression is among the range of grassroots community groups throughout Wales sharing in nearly £220,000 awarded from the Big Lottery Fund today.

The Bridgend based Fathers Reaching Out organisation is among a total of 55 community-based projects across Wales sharing in the £219,482 awarded under the latest round of the Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All small grants programme See the full project descriptions

Fathers Reaching Out was set up by 38 year old Mark Williams from Bridgend in the wake of his own personal experiences of seeing his wife go through post-natal depression for two years after the birth of their son. He said he and his wife have not had any more children since because they don’t want to risk a return of the condition after the devastating impact the illness had on their lives. Mark launched the Fathers Reaching Out website last year and has also begun a monthly self-help group in Bridgend. People from as far away as Hong Kong have been in touch with him to share their experiences.

The group will now be able to reach out to more people going through the same experiences thanks to a grant of £2,509 from The Fund to pay for publicity materials and a magazine which will be distributed through hospitals and Doctor Surgeries and by email.

Mark’s wife Michelle was diagnosed with post natal depression after giving birth in December 2004 by Caesarean section following a 20-hour labour.

"It more or less hit Michelle straight away,” says Mark.

“She became very clingy and she was a different person altogether, which I found strange at first because I didn't know what depression was. I had to give up work for six months. There was the new baby, we had a new house and all the added other pressures that Michelle use to deal with and, most importantly, my wife's illness."

"The isolation was the biggest thing I felt hard to cope with. How was I going to tell my friends if I didn't understand myself? All I was worried about was Michelle getting better. With mental illness, you can't just snap out of it.”

Mark says he was motivated to act after realising there was very little help, if any, for men in a similar position.

“When a wife or partner is suffering from post natal depression it has a massive knock on affect for the men and husbands,” he says.

“Men can find themselves in the position of having to carry out all the main duties at home, whilst also working and caring for their wife and new born child and sometimes other children. These responsibilities can cause stress for the husband or partner which can lead to them feeling low or isolated. Many men don't talk openly about their feelings and this in itself can cause more stress.”

He added: “If it weren’t for the grant, I wouldn’t be able to get the message out there. We will be distributing about 2,000 copies of the magazine but it will also be in electronic format so we can email it to anyone in Wales.”

For more information visit www.fathersreachingout.com

Other projects awarded today highlight the diverse range of what can be funded under the Awards for All programme. In Caerphilly, Caerphilly Borough Mind will spend £2,235 on training two members of staff to become trainers in applied suicide intervention skills whilst the Somali Integration Society (£4,990) will deliver a series of legal and welfare advice sessions in Cardiff and Newport aimed at helping the Somali community to avoid poverty and integrate with the wider Welsh community. And in Rhondda Cynon Taff, the Penrhiwceiber Community Revival Strategy Group will spend £5000 on providing a one-to-one community mentoring service for the long-term unemployed.

Projects which promote the use of the Welsh languge also share in the latest awards. Clwb Garth Garmon (£3110) in Conwy, North Wales, will bring together the community to socialise through a series of activities with an emphasis on learning Welsh whilst Medrwn Môn on the Isle of Anglesey will spend their award of £3480 on creating a new bilingual website and printed materials which will publicise the wide range of community buildings available to local community groups and voluntary organisations across Anglesey.

Gareth Williams, Awards for All Programme Manager for the Big Lottery Fund in Wales, said: “Awards for All is having a positive impact throughout Wales. Money is helping to establish groups, societies and clubs, promoting learning, increasing volunteering opportunities and helping to build stronger communities.”

Available in English and Welsh, application forms are available to download from www.awardsforall.org.uk or by phone on 0845 4 10 20 30.


Further information

Oswyn Hughes - Big Lottery Fund Press Office: 02920 678 207

Out of Hours Contact: 07760 171 431
Public Enquiries Line: 03454 102030 Textphone: 0845 6021 659
Full details of the Big Lottery Fund programmes and grant awards are available at: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk
Follow BIG on Twitter: www.twitter.com/biglotterywales
Find BIG on facebook: www.facebook.com/biglotteryfundwales


Notes to Editors

  • In Wales, the Big Lottery Fund is rolling out close to £100,000 a day in National Lottery good cause money, which together with other Lottery distributors means that across Wales most people are within a few miles of a Lottery-funded project.
  • The Big Lottery Fund, the largest of the National Lottery good cause distributors, has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since its inception in June 2004. It was established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
  • Since the National Lottery began in 1994, 28p from every pound spent by the public has gone to Good Causes. As a result, over £30 billion has now been raised and more than 400,000 grants given out across the arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education and the environment.