Meet the organisation helping Kiwis be better Dads

They say good things take time, but sometimes fast moving projects are just as brilliant. Kidz Need Dadz’s Hawkes Bay branch had only been running for three months when CEO Shayne Jeffares was awarded a game-changing AMI community grant.

Since then the organisation has gone from strength to strength, helping Kiwi men excel at one of the most important jobs there is – being a top-notch Dad.

Kidz Need Dadz runs throughout the North Island, with branches in Tauranga, Taranaki and Wellington as well as Hawke’s Bay.

Shayne runs the newly formed Hawkes Bay branch with his wife Cath, working side-by-side supporting local families. Because she brings her experience in early childhood education to the Dads they meet, Kidz Need Dadz Hawkes Bay is the whole parenting package.

The initiative primarily aims to enhance relationships between Dads and their kids, something Shayne saw a need for in his own neighbourhood.

“Because of my previous work with Dads through Plunket I was in contact with a wide circle of people and Dads, and I was able to just look at what was needed in Hawke’s Bay that wasn’t being offered,” says Shayne.

“A coffee group or a Mum’s group isn’t always open to a Dad coming into that circle, so it was about providing opportunities for them to connect together through their children and just be able to enjoy being a Dad.”

It’s about keeping it local

For Shayne, Kidz Need Dadz’s size and local presence makes all the difference when it comes to supporting the community.

“We’ve obviously got all our big social service providers, but quite often organisations like us that are small and easily adapt to the region - they’re the ones able to provide support really quickly,” Shayne says.

“Often Dads are parenting alone, or their partners are working and they’re basically caring for the children alone during the day. We really try to address those issues around social isolation.”

Shayne and his team run close-knit weekly meetings and events to provide Dads with confidence and support. It’s a vibrant community, and it’s growing rapidly.

Bringing a community together

When Shayne heard about AMI’s community grant through Neighbourly, he seized the opportunity with both hands.

“It was actually a colleague who suggested I apply. She was applying too under her organisation, so we were both competing in a race to see who could get there first,” admits Shayne.

“We basically got involved right at the very beginning and used all our contacts because as a new organisation here in Hawke’s Bay we weren’t really known. We pulled on them and the wider community to just share it out on social media and back to Neighbourly.”

The grant earned Kidz Need Dadz the extra $5000 it needed for publicity resources, to provide proper training for people running meetings, and helped Shayne in his role as well.

“It meant we were able to fund five or six hours a week for me to concentrate on doing what needs to be done to grow our presence in the Bay,” he says.

Onwards and upwards

Since receiving the grant in March, Shayne says Kidz Need Dadz’s Hawke’s Bay branch is going from strength to strength.

“We’ve actually just secured our own premises, which is all part of that process that the AMI grant coming through has let us work on,” explains Shayne.

“We’re going to be extending into offering opportunities for all Dads to connect with us. So we’re talking first time Dads too, and being able to address issues around health and wellbeing as well.”

Kidz Need Dadz Hawke’s Bay will soon offer support around budgeting for first time fathers, a centralised ‘Dads Hub’ and potentially even an in-house life coach.

They’re all changes Shayne says wouldn’t be in the pipeline without a little extra help.

“Without our grant, we wouldn’t have had that opportunity to be able to kickstart some of these projects so it’s been a huge benefit,” he says.