New app for fathers launched by Welwyn Garden City man

PUBLISHED: 16:24 07 June 2019 | UPDATED: 16:24 07 June 2019

Dad AF has been launched by a Welwyn Garden City father. Picture: Lee Downes

Dad AF has been launched by a Welwyn Garden City father. Picture: Lee Downes

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A Welwyn Garden City man has founded an app to help support dads.

Lee with his children,  three-year-old Fleur , and six-year-old Harrison. Picture Matt PowellLee with his children, three-year-old Fleur , and six-year-old Harrison. Picture Matt Powell

Father-of-two Lee Downes has created an app, Dad AF, designed to help support dads old and new through fatherhood.

Dad AF describes itself as an app created 'by dads for dads' - where fathers are able to talk about anything from Star Wars to C-sections.

The free app offers a variety of features - from areas to chat and share stories, to sections offering tips, support, and even ideas for days out with the kids.

Founder Lee told the Welwyn Hatfield Times about his inspiration for creating the app ahead of Father's Day on June 16.

Dad AF is an app which hopes to provide support for dads. Picture Matt PowellDad AF is an app which hopes to provide support for dads. Picture Matt Powell

"It's spawned out of the label of being a dad, and the expectations and connotations that come with it," he said.

"In society today you feel like there's a real pressure to be the perfect father.

"In fact, I personally have found that it's something that really weighs on your mind. So for me it's about bringing attention to the fact that there's no such thing as a perfect father and that actually we're all doing the best we can.

"When you're becoming a parent it's about learning on the job and, like any job you do, there are going to be highs and lows. And in terms of those highs and lows, we wanted to create an environment where dads could come together, gain some insight, share some ideas, have a laugh and basically sort of feel empowered that they are actually being the best they can be.

"For me the source of real credibility, and the place in which I trust and value the most, is the opinion of other dads.

"To be able to have that little bit of reassurance that you're not the only on going through a particular situation - it always warms your heart a little.

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"We've had dads talk about their mental health struggles or their partner's, and the way in which the community has congregated around that individual and offered them support or phone calls has really warmed me personally.

"That's the underlying purpose of this - to empower dads to be the best version of themselves."

Dad AF user Patrick Lewis told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: "I'm a father of two, my eldest is nine and the youngest is four, so I've been a dad for a little while now.

"I had my first child at a time when I was 19 years old, and there wasn't a lot of support out there.

"If I could go back in time with this app I definitely would have used it. If you can imagine not a lot of my friends were having children at 19, so there were times when I felt quite alone at that point.

"This app has been really good just to connect with some people who are younger or first time fathers and share some of those experiences with them.

Miles Bonell is about to become a father for the first time.

"My wife's currently 37 weeks pregnant, June 25 is the due date so we're playing the waiting game at the moment," he said.

"Because the whole pregnancy thing came out of nowhere I wasn't really sure what to do, where to go. There's a lot that goes though a guy's mind that you wouldn't necessarily think about.

"How am I actually going to afford to live and pay for this kind of stuff? Anxieties about changing job, saving money, mortgage, all that kind of stuff, aside from how I felt being a new dad - having never done it before.

"The stories that are being shared on the app, they're being told by real dads that have done it before. I couldn't find that anywhere else."

Search 'Dad AF' of App Store and Google Play to download the free app. Or find them on social media by searching 'Dad AF app'.

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