Dad explains how setting up football sessions helped him feel at home

Swindon's finest: The Dads v Dads sessions help with community cohesion. <i>(Image: Robert Jeffs)</i>
Swindon's finest: The Dads v Dads sessions help with community cohesion. (Image: Robert Jeffs)

A Swindon football group dedicated to dads of all ages has been ensuring community cohesion and improving the mental health of its members.

Dads v Dads was originally set up in Birmingham but came over to Swindon too when Robert Jeffs moved from the city to Wiltshire.

Robert, 31, became a father when he moved to Swindon six years ago and set up the inclusive football group since arriving in the town.

“I moved to Swindon six years ago and I didn’t know anyone down here,” he explained.

“Setting up the group here helped me as it’s an increased social circle.”

Everyone is welcome at the sessions, regardless of age and how many children they have.

“It is not specifically for dads but most members in the group have children,” said Robert.

“There’s even people who play with us who have grandkids. It’s a great mixture.”

The group represents a place to help men struggling with a variety of issues which can be anything from mental health problems to just needing to keep fit.

“We are there to support others with loneliness, mental health issues and to also just provide some alone time and exercise for busy people,” explained Robert.

“We have had, and continue to have, a number of people play who are suffering from depression and anxieties, but the group community really helps with this.”

Dads v Dads also provides a safe space for those having trouble settling into a new community.

“We also have a number of members from a variety of backgrounds such as Goan, Romanian and Polish, so it is helping to support integration from different communities,” remarked Robert.

“People often move to Swindon for work or a relationship with no roots here and the sessions help build them friendships and contacts in the area.”

Sessions usually take place every Tuesday from 7pm to 8pm and every Thursday from 8pm to 9pm at Abbey Park School on Tadpole Lane.

During November and December however, only the Thursday sessions will go ahead due to it being a quiet time.

Entry is £6 per session with no subscription necessary with a game-by-game policy being the preferred scenario, making it financially easier for anyone to attend.

“It is cost of living proof as there is no subscription, if you want to play then you can just pay for that day’s session,” said Robert.

If you would like to find out more, you can contact Robert on 07476832467.