Dad's the way to do it!

Posted on: Friday 9 February 2024
For Dads, By Dads Visit at The Grange University Hospital (1)

A father of two and successful entrepreneur has shared how a parenting programme has transformed his approach to fatherhood and improved his well-being.

Michael O’Neil, 39, from Cwmbran, joined Torfaen Council’s For Dads, By Dads programme in February 2023, after recommendations from his wife Hazel and the Perinatal Infant Mental Health Service (PIMHS).

During the 10-week programme, Michael took part in a range of workshops learning all about parenting, health and nutrition, smoking, gambling, paediatric first aid, psychology sessions, as well as coping strategies for stress and anxiety.

It also provided him with a supportive space to connect and learn from other dads through group discussions and a ‘walk and talk’ in the park at the start of each session.

Michael is now urging any new or expectant fathers to consider joining the next programme, which starts on Thursday 22 February, 7pm at Pontypool Active Living Centre.

By signing up, dads also gain a free months gym membership through Torfaen Leisure Trust, with a five month reduced rate thereafter, as well as opportunities to attend Newport County FC and Newport Gwent Dragon match days.

Michael said, “It seemed like a good thing to meet other dads, and the topics resonated with me. It has made me a lot more mindful in how I parent, in my actions and my approach. I’ve even gone back to the gym, which has boosted my energy and mood.”

“Give it a go; there’s nothing to lose. It’s a free couple of hours of your time, and you’ll gain so much from it. Just sign up and see for yourself.”

A notable benefit of the programme is that dads can connect and form bonds with fellow fathers, creating a strong social support network that lasts beyond the programme.

Michael, who owns Mighty Duck Marketing and ManOfTheMatchFootball -  a football gifts and prints business, added: “I’ve made some great friends, who I can talk to regularly and share experiences with. We still meet up regularly, sometimes with our families, sometimes just for a pint.

It’s good to have people who understand what you’re going through, and who can offer advice or a listening ear.”

To date, For Dads, By Dads has supported more than 60 dads on their parenting journey.

Once completed, dads also get the chance to sign up for a Circle of Security Parenting course, an attachment-based parenting course which looks at how to foster a secure parent-child relationship.

Councillor Richard Clark, Executive Member for Children, Families and Education, said:

“Michael’s story is a testament to the transformative power of the For Dads, By Dads programme in fostering a supportive community for fathers, enhancing their parenting skills, and personal growth.

“His journey from a busy entrepreneur to a more mindful father underscores the importance of such initiatives in building stronger family bonds and promoting the well-being of children and parents alike.”

New and expectant dads interested in signing up for the ‘For Dads by Dads’ or Circle of Security Parenting programmes, can complete the online booking form here.

Alternatively, contact or

Last Modified: 09/02/2024 Back to top