About us

Founded in 2015 and based in Tendring, North East Essex, Lads Need Dads CIC is an award winning Not-For-Profit Community Interest Company, set up to prevent potential problems and address existing ones where boys are missing a father-figure in their lives.

We Provide:

  • A male-led group Mentoring Programme
  • Bush-craft survival training and outdoor activities
  • Practical lifeskill training
  • Access to inspirational male speakers
  • Community Volunteering opportunities
  • Leadership and Peer mentoring opportunities
  • Ongoing open-ended support
  • Family support service

Lads Need Dads is currently one of the only projects in the UK that works proactively to address the impact of the absent father on boys aged 11-15 and whose approach is both early intervention and long-term. This is something to be proud of and at the same time, a cause for real concern.

Our mission

“To empower and enable boys aged 11-15 who have absent fathers or limited access to a supportive male role model, to become motivated, responsible, capable, resilient and emotionally competent to PREVENT them from becoming at risk of under achieving, offending, exclusion or dropping out of school.”

“To raise awareness and understanding of the important role fathers play in the emotional, mental and educational development and well-being of boys.”

Research has shown that children with highly involved dads do better at school, have higher self-esteem, are less likely to get into trouble in adolescence and are less likely to suffer behavioural problems in their pre-teen years compared to children without a father figure at home. According to the UK’s leading Think Tank, the Centre of Social Justice, 2.9 million children in the UK have no father figure at home and 1.1 million have little or no contact with their father at all. That is equivalent to the whole population of Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk combined!

Our aim is to equip and empower boys during the critical ages of 11 to 15 to be motivated, responsible, capable, resilient and emotionally competent. We believe prevention is crucial in reducing the growing number of boys coming from fatherless homes each year who underachieve at school, struggle with their mental health, are excluded from school or engage in offending behaviour.

The team of Directors work and/or have a background in Education, Criminal Justice, Health and Social Care and the Statutory and Voluntary Sector.

Referrals to the Programme are made via the school we are working with OR direct to us if we are running a programme in the community, so please contact us or your child’s school to check if we are running a programme currently. For schools or outside agencies who would like to make a referral or request a programme please contact us via our Contact page.

The critical years
(ages 11-15)

Ages 11-15 are when a boy’s choices, both conscious and unconscious, begin to form the foundation of the man he will become. Whether a boy’s father died, left the family home, was abusive or is emotionally unavailable, a teenage boy beginning his journey to manhood with no man to guide him may lose his way. Coupled with experiencing rapid physical, mental/intellectual, and emotional changes, these years are often considered the most difficult period of adolescence.

The ages of 11-15 are significant for boys due to the developmental journey, both their brains and bodies undertake. The sense of risk and adventure grows at this age and the need to be physically and mentally tested and challenged increases. Boys from an early age grow up hearing messages which are often limiting in regards to emotional literacy, such as “man “, “get a grip” etc. Whereas girls are encouraged from an early age to express their emotions freely, boys often aren’t and if they do, fear they may be judged as being “weak”. At Lads Need Dads our approach is to help boys learn that there are many ways to be a man, that is okay to own and express vulnerable feelings and there are many ways to resolve conflict other than the aggressive route.

Why Lads Need Dads

Lads Need Dads believe prevention is crucial in reducing the growing number of boys coming from fatherless homes each year who under achieve at school, struggle with their mental health, are excluded from school or engage in offending behaviour.

At Lads Need Dads we believe in early intervention and in walking alongside boys during the critical years of 11-15. We provide a team of vetted and specialist trained mentors who work in group and long-term. A large part of our work focuses on increasing emotional intelligence and resilience, so boys can recognise and express other emotions, aside from either anger or indifference.

We provide opportunities for the boys to be stretched both mentally and physically by engaging with the outdoors and teach them practical life-skills which they get the opportunity to practice by volunteering in the community. We provide opportunities to be inspired by men from the community and to train as leaders and peer mentors.

The absent father isn’t the only challenge we face in this society, the way boys are socialised to express themselves needs to change too. The bottling up of emotions can lead to unwise choices and negative consequences. Our aim at Lads Need Dads is to help provide the support, guidance and encouragement, and a much-needed male voice to enable this process to happen.