Speeches - Dads Rock
Gavin Brown (Lothian) (Con): I am happy to speak on behalf of the Scottish Conservatives in tonight’s debate. I congratulate Gordon MacDonald on lodging the motion, which I was happy to sign, and on securing the debate, which is a good one to have this evening. I also congratulate Dads Rock on what it has achieved in a short space of time. I congratulate the founders who set up the organisation and drove it forward, the volunteers who help events to happen regularly and, of course, the dads and kids who go along every week and make up Dads Rock.
As we heard from previous speakers, the organisation achieved an amazing amount in setting up the first free musical playgroup for dads, then setting up the second one, which the minister opened; it now has plans for a third group and more. All that was being done while a fun and positive environment was being created. Most remarkable is that it has all been achieved in such a short space of time. If the first group went live in February last year, that means that everything has been achieved in a mere 15 months or so, and I suspect that much more is to come.
I was interested to hear Gordon MacDonald talk about how Dads Rock started. How many conversations have there been elsewhere in the country in which people have complained about something? Perhaps they even talked specifically about how little there was in Edinburgh for dads to do, but nothing came of it. As a result of David Marshall’s and Thomas Lynch’s specific skill set in music and experience as a post-natal depression counsellor, combined with their determination to drive the project forward, something unique and specific happened. Many people have had conversations about such ideas at various times, but very few have taken them forward. There are lessons for us all in what has happened with Dads Rock over a very short period.
Looking at Dads Rock’s blog and Facebook page, I was most struck by how proactive the organisation has been and continues to be. Several groups are operating already, with more on the way. I read an entry on the Facebook page about dads going out leafletting in Granton. Instead of waiting and hoping for people to show up, members of Dads Rock went out and put letters through mailboxes to encourage people to come along and to let them know that events were happening. Dads Rock has also been proactive with exhibitions here in the Scottish Parliament and elsewhere on at least one occasion, and in its involvement with Fathers Network Scotland among other groups. Its members seem extremely determined to take things forward.
I look forward to hearing the minister’s response to the debate. Does she propose to end this session with the chorus of “We Will Rock You” or something similar? I confess that I am struggling to get the image of Aileen Campbell playing the drums, as pictured on the Dads Rock Facebook page, out of my head.
This has been a very interesting and exciting 15 months for those involved in Dads Rock, but I rather suspect that the next 15 months will be even more interesting and exciting. I wish them all the very best for the next year and after that.
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