SSBC is funding woodworking sessions to support fathers who have experienced pregnancy loss or the death of a baby or child. The sessions are completely free of charge and will be run by local charity, Zephyr’s.
Zephyr’s is an independent charity, founded by Martin Sommerville and his partner, Carly Williams, after their baby son Zephyr was stillborn in 2013. The charity grew out of a desire to offer holistic care and therapeutic services, including a combination of professional and peer-based support for bereaved families.
The sessions are run by Martin, who is an artist and woodworker.
Making space for dads
The woodworking sessions are:
- Free of charge.
- Open to all men in Nottingham who have lost a baby or child (at any age or stage of gestation) at any time.
They take place on the third Wednesday of every month, at By Our Hands, Sneinton Market NG1 1DQ.
“When our son, Zephyr, died, everything felt out of control. Whittling away at a piece of wood, making simple little things, was a way of focusing and starting to shape my life again. I could imagine I was making something for him. This studio a space where there are no judgements or expectations. It doesn't matter if you want to create something beautiful while talking, or quietly chip away – everyone else here will get it.”
Martin Sommerville, workshop leader
Research shows that men are less likely than women to engage with traditional talking-based therapies. Instead, men are more likely to engage with and benefit from activity-based therapeutic activities.
The emphasis of Zephyrs’ woodworking sessions is on therapeutic activity. Whilst it may be an opportunity for some men to access peer support, there is no expectation for them to talk about their experiences. Those attending the sessions can produce a keepsake if they wish, learn a new skill, or they can experiment with the wood and tools in the studio.
“It’s important to Zephyr’s that we offer different opportunities for all those affected by loss of a baby or child. Sometimes fathers and partners can feel forgotten in bereavement care. Our woodworking sessions are open to all dads, however recently or long ago they experienced loss. We hope this project will help men feel their experiences are heard and recognised, while offering them a chance to try something new.”
Carly Williams, Zephyr's Project Manager
SSBC's commitment to father-inclusivity
SSBC Partnership and Board re-affirmed their commitment to father-inclusive practice in 2018/2019. Since that time we have commissioned projects, like Zephyrs’ woodworking sessions, to ensure that dads and male caregivers receive sufficient tailored support.
“SSBC is committed to father-inclusive practice as part of our wider systems change work to improve outcomes for fathers and their families. Our collaboration with Zephyr’s strengthens our determination to focus on dads’ mental health and support them during loss and grief also.”
Karla Capstick, SSBC Programme Director
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