Midlothian Sure Start (MSS) are a voluntary organisation with charitable status. They aim to give young children (from pre-birth to 11 years) the best possible start. On an out-reach basis, they provide a range of services through six centres. They deliver a client-led service as a team at grass-routes level. Midlothian Sure Start in particular have offered various provisions for fathers. These comprised a varied programme of activities, aiming to support men to move toward taking positive action in their lives. This project adopted a mixed-methods approach to provide an overall evaluation of the impact of Midlothian Sure Start and in particular the organisations provision for fathers. The methods comprised:
• Six semi-structured interviews with members of staff
• 2 focus groups with parents attending Midlothian Sure Start
• Questionnaires with 41 parents attending Midlothian Sure Start
• 5 Semi-structured interviews with fathers
Overall, what Midlothian Sure Start is proving itself particularly successful at doing, is addressing the emotional but also pragmatic needs of families from low-income sectors. Were projects that aim to provide for fathers (such as these) to be sustained with ongoing financial support, it is likely that they would continue to gain momentum. The constructive outcomes would compound as a result.