Friday, 3 December 2010

Who Needs Fathers s1e02 - Missing Dad BBC TV programme.


Within 3 years of divorce, nearly 50% of fathers have lost all contact with their children.

There's plenty of research to show the impact not having a dad around can have on young people.

This is a film about young men whose lives have been affected by growing up without a father.

Its about their search to fill the gap.

Matt Sadler is 29, and lives in Lancaster with his girlfriend Trish. Matt has no idea where his father is, and hasnt seen him since he was 18 months old.

Matt started life in Greenwich, south-east London. When he was 7, he moved to Germany with his mum, and his new stepdad, who later left aswell.

Four weeks ago, Matt decided to look for his father.

John Sadler (Matt's dad) has lived in Greenwich all his life.

John: "I really wasnt allowed to speak to him properly. I couldnt say "Hello Matthew", she (the mother) would just say "Come on, Matthew", and that was it.

In an attempt to escape and move on with his life, John applied for a job in South Africa, but he was not prepared to give up all claim on his son, so he turned down the job abroad. But when Matts mum and new step-father moved to Germany a few years later, all hope of any further contact was broken.

Matt contacts John, and goes to London to see his dad.

The Sunlight Center in Gillingham, Kent, serves a community with high unemployment and a large number of families with no father.

The Sunlight Trust is run by Peter Holbrook.

"What happens in an area like this, is that you often have quite large families, with mums struggling to bring up the children, and dad being absent for whatever reason.

I think the implications of not having a dad when your growing up is so wide-ranging. It affects every part of who you end up being. It affects your health, your educational attainment, your likelyhood of misusing alcohol or drugs. Your much more susceptible to external influences, gang culture, and crime. Your likely to become a young parent yourself. Virtually every single element of your life can be affected by not having a dad. So we're battling against a whole range of different challenges."

Peter was a mentor to Shaun, who came to the Sunlight center as a troubled teenager after his parents split up when he was 8.

Shaun is now a youth worker there, helping other teenagers with similar problems.

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