Keeping The Promise for Dads: Darren's Story

Darren faced many challenges as he entered fatherhood. Overcoming these obstacles taught him invaluable lessons that transformed his perspective. Discover how his journey inspired him to become a coach, dedicated to supporting and empowering vulnerable fathers

Keeping The Promise for Dads: Darren's Story

It amazes me how life experiences can shift your perspective in an instance. I became a father at a young age and to say I was naive would be a huge understatement. I pulled my socks up and gave it my all. It was not until my second child was born that everything changed. I was spending long hours at work in the hospitality industry missing moments and events that I would never recover.

My daughter was born with one kidney and a few months after her birth her kidney went into failure. I spent months in hospitals across the country where my daughter received the best care I could ever have wished for, but the reality is, she is lucky to be here. She is now 8 years old and living life to the fullest taking everything in her stride. Something, however, shifted for me during this period: it became clear that no matter how terrible things got for Amy, there were other children less fortunate. Children that would take their last breath in hospital.

This period sparked one of the biggest perspective changes in my life. I took the leap into residential childcare and spent 5 years in a small private residential house. Here, I was able to make a difference to the lives of children and young people while spending quality time with my own children at home. It seemed like the perfect work-life balance. Thereafter, I decided to take the plunge into local authority residential care and proceeded up the career ladder.

I still struggle to comprehend how children end up in residential childcare and why so few young people move onto a positive destination. The challenges are enormous! Having said that, I am determined to shift the balance, seeing early intervention as the biggest opportunity. Of course, I am by no means the first to say this and I certainly will not be the last!

Personal growth and self-development became pivotal pillars in my life at the beginning of the Covid pandemic. I was going through a relationship break up while trying to prioritise my time, make sense of life, work full time, and be the best father to my children; just trying to keep it all together.

This period of my life was by far the most difficult. I felt lonely and isolated, and for the first time in my life, I experienced my thoughts getting the better of me. It was only after reading every single self-help book available and listening to podcast after podcast that I gained a sense of clarity and drive to push forward and support others in similar positions to do the same.

I started to coach on a voluntary basis and found passion and meaning in my work. My experience in residential childcare emphasised that vulnerable fathers were missing the focused, person-centred support they needed to thrive and build healthier and stronger relationships with their children. It was in that moment it became clear. Intervening early to give children and young people a chance to have positive early years, and supporting vulnerable fathers to build stronger relationships with their children, became my mission.

I have since created a person-centred and focused coaching program aimed at vulnerable dads. I am in the process of measuring the success of my program and I am excited to see what impact we can achieve together.