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Amari now spends weekends with his mum and weekdays with his dad."it is a widespread assumption that when a relationship breaks down, it's a man's instinct to run off and abandon his duties. I work with a number of young dads as a mentor for Reach – an organisation introduced by the previous government to raise the aspirations of young black men in Britain – and the majority of them want to be more present in their children's lives, but, because of personal circumstances – often not having had any strong male figures in their own lives, and lacking confidence in themselves – they need guidance in learning how to achieve that.Nick Michaelides, who has been raising his two children alone since their mother, Bella, died three years ago, notes that mums tend to cluster together at the school gates to arrange get-togethers; as a man, he says it's easy to find yourself excluded from key social events.
As well as offering single fathers the practical advice and the emotional back-up he'd lacked, with free cookery classes, life-coaching and counselling, Dad's House aims to create a social network for fathers across the UK. Just a year since its launch, the organisation now has roughly 1,400 members.Shortly after Sam's first birthday, his mum went on holiday, leaving Sam with his dad, 27-year-old William Mc Granaghan. She said she'd only be gone a week, but a week turned to two, and as the weeks became months, it became clear she wasn't coming back.Though he embraced his new role as a single parent, William was out of his depth: "I didn't know where to go; I lost my job and then my flat.It was difficult getting face-to-face interaction with Amari's teacher, and his mum would take him to nine out of 10 doctor's appointments, so I relied on her to find out what was going on in our son's life. I have a say in Amari's education, take him to after-school activities and help him make costumes for school plays – things which are traditionally seen as motherly roles.At the moment, he's getting ready to sit his SATs so we're finding fun ways to address his learning.