Sunday is a special time for dads and grandfathers as children say thank you for their love and care with homemade cards and other rituals.

But for dads who can’t hug their children on Father’s Day this weekend, Darren Clarke’s message is simple: take care of yourself.

Through the Dad’s Business program, based at Elizabeth Downs, Darren meets dads who are grappling with their role as fathers on the back of complex challenges.

Program activities come from a place of hope and focus on building self-esteem so that the dads recognise the value of fathers in family and children’s lives.

“Even if they can’t be with their children on Sunday, it’s important that they recognise Father’s Day internally, and that’s certainly been my message over the past few months,’’ Darren said.

“The majority of the dads we support are not currently connected to their kids for a variety of reasons. That makes me feel sad but more determined to get them in the right headspace for when they are with their children again.

“Many of the dads we work with don’t have dads or role models of their own, so we try and be that positive influence for them.’’

Darren is encouraging dads to mark Father’s Day by doing something they enjoy, or creating a written keepsake for their children.

“Immerse yourself in anything that’s going to be a self-care process, whether that’s connecting with your mates or just chilling at home watching a movie.

“Write something in a journal, so you’ve got something to show your children or send to them later, that tells them you were thinking of them on that day.

“They will always be their children’s father and it’s important they acknowledge that.’’

The Dad’s Business HQ at Elizabeth Rise Shopping Centre provides parenting and other supports for dads to empower men of all ages, and strengthen their sense of pride.

The first space of its kind in the north, the HQ has a strong focus on cultural awareness and understanding to tackle stigma, which remains one of the main barriers for men in reaching out for help.

In partnership with Communities for Children facilitating partner AnglicareSA, Centacare oversees the site where dads can drop in for a chat and seek advice, referral to services, parenting education, advocacy, counselling, and support for alcohol and other drugs.

Dad’s Business is funded by the Department of Social Services. 

For more information about Dad’s Business phone (08) 82522311