Dads In Leeds Want More Opportunities To Engage With Their Kids

Eight out of ten dads want to see more groups and activities for fathers and their children in Leeds.

In a survey by support group Leeds Dads, 79% of dads also said they’d be interested in joining a dads’ group. And 40% of dads under 40 said they didn’t spend as much as they’d like with their children. Only 17% of dads aged 40 or over said the same.

The figures come from a survey at the Dadstastic Day family activities event run by Leeds Dads last Father’s Day at Leeds City Museum.

Over 1,500 parents, carers and children attended, and amongst other activities they were able to learn to dance with Phoenix Dance, upcycle vinyl and turn records into art, jump and shout at the BoomChikkaBoom Baby Rave, and meet their favourite fairytale story characters.

There was also outdoor fun with Pop Up Sport in Millennium Square. Children were able to program a robot arm, create crazy carnival headpieces, and make their own‘Dad-Face’ biscuits – and eat ‘em!

Five hundred dads, mums and children took part in the survey at Dadstastic Day on Father’s Day in 2017 at Leeds City Museum.

It’s described as the biggest free Father’s Day party in England and is seen as a great opportunity for parents and carers to interact with their children. Babies, toddlers, and children aged up to 11 yrs old were able to enjoy: music, dance, science, storytelling, arts and crafts, and sport.

Leeds Dads founder Errol Murray said:

“There are very few dads groups in the city, and it’s clear that dads are calling out for more. Dads are still a bit of a rarity at playgroups, and many feel awkward and out of place there. So why not create more spaces where groups of dads can spend time actively engaging with their children?”

Dads can have an incredible impact on their childrens lives. The Fatherhood Institute’s ‘Bringing Fathers In’ report says research suggests “…positively involved fathers can have a huge impact on their children in all sorts of ways, contributing towards:

  • better friendships with better-adjusted children
  • fewer behaviour problems
  • lower criminality and substance abuse
  • higher educational achievement
  • greater capacity for empathy
  • higher self-esteem and life-satisfaction”

Dadstastic Day: survey headline stats

  • The day was amazingly well attended with over 1500 people in the museum.
  • 200 adults and 300 children took part in the survey
  • An impressively wide ethnic mix saw attendees from over 20 different backgrounds
  • Over 80% of all parents (who answered the question) said they would like to see more groups/activities/events for fathers and their children in Leeds
  • 84% of dads would like to see more groups/activities/events for fathers and their children in Leeds
  • Nearly 79% of dads who didn’t already attend a dads group said yes or maybe to joining one in the future
  • 30% of dads and 20% of mums said they weren’t able to spend as much time as they’d like with their children (this figure rose for parents with more children)
  • 60% of mums said they were able to spend lots of time with their children. Only 43% of dads said this. It’s though that this is because more mums spend time at home with younger children, or work part time.
  • Over 80% of parents feel work impacts (often or sometimes) on the amount of time they can spend with their children

Viewed through age – dads 25-39 and 40 and over:

How much time are you able to spend with your children?

  • Not as much as I’d like: 40% (Dads under 40) vs 17% (Dads aged 40 or over)

Do you feel work impacts on the amount of time you can spend with your children?

  • Often or sometimes: 89% (Dads under 40) vs 78% (Dads aged 40 or over)

Would you like to see more groups/activities/events for fathers and their children in Leeds?

  • Yes: 88% (Dads under 40) vs 77% (Dads aged 40 or over)

If you don’t already attend a dads group, would you consider joining one in the future?

  • Yes: 61% (Dads under 40) vs 54% (Dads aged 40 or over)

More detail

  • 60% of attending parents surveyed were dads; 40% were mums
  • Most parents (62%) came with 1 child; many (32%) with 2 children; one parent came with 5 children
  • Nearly all parents were aged between 25 and 50
  • Most of the children attending who were surveyed (over 70%) were under 5 though there were a few over 12. There were slightly more boys than girls (54%:46%)

Local Data

Population UK          –            801,000 people lived in Leeds in 2017

Leeds Observatory –            183,000 children and young people live in Leeds

ONS –                         –            18% of the population are aged under 14

Leeds Dads

Leeds Dads is a charitable organisation that brings together a diverse community of fathers for social interaction and support. We host playgroups for dads and kids, organise social events for dads and families, and provide information and signpost to expert parenting support.

Leeds Dads is unique in our key aim of supporting fathers to actively engage with their children, and build lasting relationships.

Leeds Dads MeetUp

Leeds Dads MeetUp is a preschool playgroup for dads and kids. We meet every third Sunday of the month at The Tetley Arts Centre in Hunslet. Kids get involved in art/craft, and if the weather’s good we have games and playtime outside, followed by a singalong and storytime.


Errol Murray: 07562 646603

Survey Conducted 16 June 2017 at Leeds City Museum. Survey data assessed by The OR Society and Leeds Dads. Questionnaire compiled by Dr Esme Hanna and Leeds Dads.


This post was written by Errol Murray