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Entries in FNF Scotland (10)

Thursday
May242018

Napier University student’s ‘Time for Change’ animation captures the case for overhaul of Scottish family law.

An Edinburgh Napier University student has created an animation on the feelings of loss experienced by separated fathers struggling to maintain an meaningful parenting relationship with their children as his final year honours BSC Digital Media project.

Lewis Rickard, a 22 year old student from Falkirk, created the infographic combining the words of a poem* by award winning author, Louis de Bernières, with data on the work of FNF Scotland to find out how far animation might be an effective platform for sharing key concepts for non profit organisations.

You can view the animation here:  https://tinyurl.com/TFC-FNFS

Lewis  has been studying Digital Media at Napier for the last two years following on from his  HND in Digital Media at City of Glasgow College in the two preceding years..

Lewis says, "The issue of parental rights has been close to my heart for many years.  I have watched my brother fight tirelessly through the courts to secure a relationship with his son. It has been very slow and very expensive. Most people who don't have first hand knowledge of the process through someone close to them don't appreciate how painful it is. This gave me inspiration to create an animation that could be understood easily by both separated parents, and also by children.

I contacted FNF last year and attended one of their group meetings so I could gain an understanding of what other dads and mothers were going through in terms of not being able to see their children – either not seeing them at all or restricted to every other weekend effectively as a visitor, not a parent.  This was a great experience for me and allowed me to get a deeper insight into how the charity works. It also gave me the chance to ask questions to the parents so I could try to understand what each person is going through.

FNF have been excellent in helping me create the animation. They have given me lots of information that I simply wouldn’t have been able to get if I was creating the animation by myself. Their help has been incredible and I feel that the animation has benefitted from the help I received from them."

Ian Maxwell, national manager of FNF Scotland, says, " We are very impressed by the animation Lewis has created. There is a Scottish Government consultation underway at the moment on reforming the law on making arrangements for the involvement of parents with their children after separation. This is a 'once in a generation' opportunity to persuade the government to bring in a system that doesn't set parents against each other but steers them towards putting their children first. We need to win hearts among the public as well as minds and Lewis's animation brilliantly captures the feelings of loss and helplessness many separated parents feel. We are very grateful to him for thinking of us."

After graduation Lewis hopes to get a job in the creative industries, such as graphic design or motion design. Lewis says, "I have just began to apply for jobs so hopefully this project will help me on the road and also help FNF Scotland connect with a wider audience. Thanks for watching."

* The Deserted men (Every Other Weekend) by Louis de Bernières

Thursday
Feb012018

Time to end two 'classes' of parents

FNF Scotland's submission to the consultation on the Scottish Government's proposed Education Bill argues that it is time to overturn the custom and practice that gives 'non-resident' parents a reduced level of engagement with their child's school.

Most importantly, there has never been an educational argument to defend that secondary status of the 'non-resident' parent. To the contrary, research from around the world and the experience of those schools in Scotland that have been active in engaging with non-resident parents shows that children benefit on a range of measures from the involvement of both parents in their learning.

However, FNF Scotland argues the current system that allows schools to provide a lesser level of communication with 'non-resident' parents - mostly fathers - breaches their duties in terms of Equality law. 

FNF Scotland supports the Scottish Government's overarching commitment to challenging gender stereotyping wherever it limits the expectations and opportunities of our citizens. The insistence of most schools that they will choose one parent as the main parent is unfair to both mothers and fathers.

The FNF Scotland submission says that not only the law but the administrative substructure of data gathering by schools has to be addressed. In particular it should be required that a standard Scotlandwide pupil enrolment form is devised to include details of both parents (or kinship/institutional carers). Without a standard enrolment form and the subsequent 'annual data update' form that gives both parents equal recognition the two classes of parent are likely to continue.

FNF Scotland accepts that in a minority of cases it will not be in a child's interests for the 'non-resident' parent to be given the same information flow.  Such a decision should follow some form of due process and should not simply reflect the preference of the other parent. This will involve overhauling the ambiguous terms of the 2003 Educational Records regulations, removing the burden of 'taking sides' away from school staff to an independent procedure.

Thursday
Jan182018

Holyrood Cross Party Group on Shared Parenting

The initiating meeting of a proposed Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Shared Parenting took place on Wednesday evening, January 17th.

15 individuals representing 10 parent and parenting organisations attended while apologies were received from three other organisation who couldn’t make it on the night.

The meeting was convened by Ian McKee (SNP). Gillan Martin and Bob Doris (both SNP) and Adam Tomkins and Finlay Carson (both Conservative) attended while apologies were received from Kate Forbes (SNP) and Andy Wightman (Green).

The meeting discussed and confirmed the name of the group, its aims and objectives and the shape of a prospective work programme, summarised as a wideranging exploration of relevant research, insight and information from within Scotland and abroad.

Three co-conveners were agreed: Ian McKee MSP, Adam Tomkins MSP and Gillian Martin MSP.

FNF Scotland will provide the secretariat support.

Proposed Cross Party Groups must be formally approved by the Scottish Parliament Procedures and Public Appointments Committee. The application will be submitted by Ivan McKee to the next available meeting.


Wednesday
Jan102018

FNF Scotland to launch group in Dundee

 

The group will establish a regular meeting place for parents (fathers or mothers) who are having difficulty  securing stable and consistent arrangements for time with their children after separation or even if they have never lived together. The aim of the monthly meeting is to provide advice and information about the problems they may be experiencing but will also be an opportunity for mutual support and positive encouragement in particular to dads that they have a lot to offer as parents. Around 90% of non-resident parents are fathers.

Ian Maxwell, FNF Scotland National Manager, says, “We are grateful to the Corra Foundation which has provided the funding to start a group covering Dundee, Angus, North Fife and tayside. Some fathers - and grandparents and other family members - have travelled from the area to come to meetings in Edinburgh, Stirling and Aberdeen. We take regular telephone enquiries individuals in Dundee and Tayside so it makes sense to establish a branch here where they can meet and share good parenting advice as well as help each other navigate through problems."

It is mostly but not exclusively dads who attend group meetings. Around 90% of non-resident parents are fathers. However, we also see mothers and members of the extended family like uncles, aunts and grandparents and new partners who can all be deeply equally affected when parents split.

Ian Maxwell says, “There is a wealth of research that shows children do best when there is a stable, loving and reliable relationship with both parents after they have separated. Our aim is to give support to the non-resident parent and his or her family in the effort to make sure the welfare of the children is at the heart of the arrangements they make. It is usually to everyone’s benefit if they can agree a way forward rather than head for the courts though there are many difficult situations when the parent with care refuses to co-operate and the case does end up in court. Our branch members provide emotional and practical support there too.”

The Dundee group will be FNF Scotland's 6th group. There are active groups in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling and Paisley as well as a monthly skype group for those further afield.

For further information about the Dundee meetings e mail info@fnfscotland.org.

 

Friday
Oct272017

Running for FNF Scotland

We are delighted that we have three volunteer runners taking part in this year’s Edinburgh Men’s 10k on Sunday 5th November.

Martin Johnstone, Gavin Watson and Martyn O’Neill will be wearing the chic FNF Scotland running vests. Martin, Gavin and Martyn, all engineers working in different industries, will be running to raise funds for FNF Scotland’s work supporting parents facing problems arranging meaningful time with their children following separation.

Information about the Men’s 10K event is here: www.mens10k.com/edinburgh

 If you would like to sponsor Martin, Martyn and Gavin for their efforts, you can register your donation on our Golden Giving page at:http://gldn.gg/f/2017edinburghmens10k If you are a UK tax payer, donating through Golden Giving will increase the value of your donation by 20%.

 If you would like some paper versions of the sponsorship form email : ian.maxwell@fnfscotland.org.

Thanks!