Thanks to Hamodia, Jewish Tribune and the Jewish Telegraph for featuring this piece.

Camp Simcha is building a dedicated support network for dads of seriously ill children it helps.

While the charity has organised activities specifically for fathers in the past, Head of Services Daniel Gillis says they felt there was more they could be doing.

“Being a parent to a seriously ill child can be incredibly isolating,” explains Daniel. “We know that some of the fathers we support do not find it easy to share their emotions around their child’s illness. With many being co-carers within their families, we ran a series of focus groups with Camp Simcha fathers to see what they wanted.

“In response to their feedback we have since begun creating a network for dads in London and one in Manchester – giving dads opportunities to support each other and share their similar experiences in relaxed, fun environment.”

First up was a go-karting evening in Manchester at Team Sport, Trafford Park, and, in London, dads enjoyed crazy golf at Puttshack, Watford.

“We want dads to know they are not alone and that it’s okay – in fact important – to take a break and focus on themselves. In the midst of so much uncertainty it’s also a reminder that they are part of a wider community of support within Camp Simcha.”

Camp Simcha father Lee Fernandez, whose son Otto has Alagille Syndrome – which causes liver disease and affects his heart, joined the go-karting get-together.

The dad-of-three from Prestwich, Manchester, said it was great to be able to meet up with other fathers who understand.

“It was a fabulous evening, connecting with other dads from different parts of the community who have similar concerns and challenges. Not to mention the racing, enjoying some fun and food together.”