Successful launch for new support service in Medway.

A new service to support fathers in Medway was launched at Gillingham Football Club on July 21st. ‘PAPAS’ (Partners Access to Perinatal Advice & Support), which is run by the charity Family Action, offers help to new dads and fathers-to-be who are supporting partners affected by mental health issues during pregnancy and following the birth of a child.

Over 50 guests attended the event at the Player’s Lounge at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium and were joined by International and former Gillingham player, Ian Cox, together with other representatives from Gillingham FC. The audience was inspired by a presentation from Mark Williams, who was prominent in launching International Fathers’ Mental Health Day.

Sally Fey, Family Action’s Project Manager for PAPAS said

“We would like to thank Gillingham Football club for so generously hosting the launch of PAPAS. We would also like to thank Mark Williams for his excellent, thought provoking speech.

When new mums and mothers-to-be are affected by perinatal depression their partners often need support too, but sadly do not know where to go for that support.  PAPAS, a new service which complements our perinatal support services for mums, offers fathers a regular meeting space for dads to discuss difficulties and a chatter forum in which dads can chat with other dads and get answers from professionals online. One to One support from support staff or volunteer is also available, supporting dad to have one to one time with his child and offer a listening ear. We can also offer counselling support by one of our qualified counsellors or final year Counselling or Psychology students.”

Adam Lawrence, Chief Executive of Gillingham FC Community Trust said

“We were delighted to be able to support the launch of this excellent new service, and welcome everyone involved to Gillingham Football Club.  The Community Trust are working to develop new opportunities and exciting projects to support the health services in Medway and Kent, and this was a great start.  We are looking forward to working with Family Action again in the future.”

To find out more about PAPAS and how to get involved please email or ring 01634 829128.