A new program will aim to provide support for Illawarra fathers and father figures - from teenage parents to granddads - to benefit them and their children.
"One of the challenges for people is understanding this new concept," Shell Cove father of three and grandfather of one David Forrest said.
"There hasn't been support for men out there in this space.
"There's plenty of mothers' groups, but there's nothing out there for dads as such, that offers that support and community."
National not-for-profit secular organisation The Fathering Project recently launched their new pilot Community Fathering Program in the Illawarra.
The Fathering Project has been working with a number of Illawarra schools since 2017.
Their new Community Fathering Program kicked off in the Illawarra in March.
An Illawarra father who participates in the program, but who wanted to remain anonymous, said life had been "tough" since his wife's death.
"Being involved in the Community Fathering program has helped me make better lifestyle choices, which means I am more present as a father," he said.
The new program seeks to engage fathers and father figures in the Illawarra region by providing a safe space.
"This is the first time we're offering one-on-one catch-ups about fathering, providing fathering groups to the community and all the programs," Community Fathering co-ordinator Mr Forrest said.
"We say fathers and father figures, because it includes granddads, carers, teenagers who are dads - the whole gamut of fathers."
This safe space, 'The Community Fathering Hub' at Port Kembla is a venue for fathers to connect, have a bite to eat, and learn about the role of being a father.
The Hub offers a range of different services, all free of charge.
Mr Forrest said they had already been working with about 20 fathers and father figures from throughout the Illawarra via the new initiative.
"There's many opportunities for fathers to connect, from one-on-one chats, dads' 'toolbox talks' where we'll provide fathering tips, as well as dedicated information nights for teen dads, new dads, single dads and grandads," Mr Forrest said.
While many activities are currently taking place online due to the lockdown, the Community Fathering Hub is located at the Foundery Family Centre, 132 Wentworth Street, Port Kembla.
More details: www.thefatheringproject.org.
We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.