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EDITIONS
Thursday, 6 February, 2003, 12:18 GMT
Fathers offered cash for outings
Father and child
Most fathers spend little time with their children
Fathers in Norfolk can claim up to 25 to help fund activities with their children under a new parenting skills scheme.

Men who sign up to the Active Dads Project, run by the Norfolk Learning and Skills Council, have to agree to take their children on six outings, which could include cinema visits or fishing trips.

The scheme has been condemned as a waste of taxpayers' money by Conservative MP for South Norfolk Richard Bacon.

But Kate Wood from Wymondham Learning Centre said: "This is a new idea to encourage dads to spend some time with one of their children."

Fitness workshops

So far, 34 men have signed up for the scheme - but it is not thought any has yet claimed the cash.

The project, being run in Wymondham and Attleborough, offers a programme of learning activities.

Fathers have to agree to bring their child along to at least one of the organised events, which include workshops in first aid, computing and fitness.

They also agree to take their children on at least five other informal activities of their own choosing.

"The cash contribution should help to meet the costs involved in their own activities," said Ms Wood.

Work pressures

But Mr Bacon said: "The concept involves taxpayers' money, which comes from parents, to give it to other parents to spend time with their own children.

"People don't need money to spend time with their children.

"You can sit them on your knee and read to them."

The Learning and Skills Council said the project developed from a survey which suggested the pressures of work meant British fathers spent less than 15 minutes a day with their children.

John Brierley, Executive Director of the Norfolk Learning and Skills Council, said: "The Norfolk Learning and Skills Council, in partnership with the local county council, is using its local initiative fund to find innovative ways to encourage people back into learning.

"Active Dads is just one way in which we encourage parents and their children to learn new skills.

"The scheme combines enjoyable learning activities with the aim of improving reading, writing and communication skills."


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See also:

13 Nov 02 | Business
06 Jun 02 | Business
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