All boys together – sessions gather granddads, uncles, dads and young ones

Dads and granddads take part in activities at Sunderland Children's centres.
Dads and granddads take part in activities at Sunderland Children's centres.
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DADS and grandads across the city are nurturing relationships with their little ones at special sessions.

Sunderland Children Centres are encouraging fathers, grandfathers and uncles to muck in with the care of their young ones, with male-focused group sessions.

Activities based around football, outdoor ventures and gardening are among the sessions being run in a bid to entice more male figures to get involved in entertaining and educating their children.

The classes, aimed at those who look after children aged five and under, are run at venues across Sunderland, with sessions on a Saturday morning at some of the city’s children’s centres, allowing those who work full-time to get involved.

Sunderland Children, North Centre, is running a class that sees parents and carers visit an allotment with their children, giving them the chance to learn about how fruit and vegetables grow, in a fun, interesting environment.

Councillor Pat Smith, portfolio holder for Children’s Services at Sunderland City Council, said that male-focused classes were encouraging more parents and grandparents to bond with their children and grandchildren.

She said: “Taking care of the children is not something that is reserved for mums and grandmothers, and of course, research shows that a strong bond between children and a male role model – be that a father or grandfather – is very important to a child’s development.

“That’s why we work hard at the children’s centres to cater for mums, dads, grandparents and carers – whoever they may be – in order to ensure that we offer a rounded, accessible programme of activities that appeal to different types of people and their children.”

Sunderland Children, which is a free to access service delivered from five main centres, and a number of other venues across the city, offers a range of different activities and classes that are designed for babies and pre-school children.

The centres are open six days a week, and operate in the North, East, West, Coalfield and Washington areas of Sunderland and sessions are designed by qualified teachers.

For details of all sessions visit or the Sunderland Children’s Centre page on Facebook.