In Dad’s Shoes, a photo exhibition which shows what it means to be a dad, opened in the Burns Committee Room in the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood yesterday.
Organised by Fathers Network Scotland and Dads Rock in conjunction with Dad’s House, the exhibition tells the story of thirty dads of all types, through images and their own words. The pictures – both personal snaps and professional images – shows the great variety of life as a dad, and the aim of the exhibition is to highlight positive, caring images of dads and their children.
Two local men were among the thirty dads whose stories and pictures were recorded for the exhibition. Dads Alex Newport, from Wester Drylaw, and Malcolm Borthwick, are members of a North Edinburgh group set up specifically for dads. Based at the Haven Project in Craigroyston Primary School, the father’s group is run by Circle Scotland’s Nick Smithers, who enlisted the NEN’s help.
Alec and Malcolm were photographed and interviewed last month, but this was the first time they had seen the finished product – fortunately both men were happy with the display!
Alex Newport lives with his sons Cameron (12), Declan (9) and daughter Tiffany (7) in Wester Drylaw.
“Life doesn’t always go to plan. My partner developed Huntington’s disease and is now in care – that had a devastating effect on our family, and it’s been really tough. There have been lots of ups and downs, but things have been more settled as the kids have grown up. They understand more now. The biggest challenge has been the change in lifestyle – from having enough money to having to be very careful, but have a social life as a family and we’ve done lots of fun things together over the summer.
“My big hope for my kids is that they enjoy school – I didn’t have a good educational experience and really I hope my own children will continue to enjoy school – the opportunities available to them are much greater. There will be more challenges – Cameron is nearly a teenager, and daughters can bring other challenges – but we’ll get through them together.”
Malcolm Borthwick lives in Granton with his two-year old son James.
“It was an almightly struggle to get custody of James – my ex-partner’s family made things difficult and I think at first the authorities thought that, because I was brought up in care myself, I wouldn’t be a fit person to bring up my own son. I think the opposite is true – I’m going to do everything I can to make sure James gets the opportunities that I never had.
“I have a boy and girl from a previous relationship. They’re both really brilliant, and I think I’ve learned enough from bringing them up to make sure James is well looked after and cared for. We do everything together – fishing, reading books, going for walks – and I try to make sure James eats all the right things and has a healthy diet. He’ll get the best start in life I can give him.”
Alex, Malcolm and Nick (pictured top) were joined at Holyrood by Circle Scotland Director Liz Dahl, and parliamentarians of all political persuasions were among the first-day visitors - Children and Families minister Aileen Campbell, Sarah Boyack, Lewis MacDonald, Margaret McCulloch and Ann McTaggart were among those MSPs to look in on the exhibition.
Good news for North Edinburgh dads – dad’s group Dad’s Rock will be launching new weekly sessions at The Prentice Centre on Saturday mornings from the end of October. We’ll keep you posted with details when they are confirmed.