Hillingdon DADS are a Support and Social Group dedicated to dads who care for Children with Disabilities and SEN in the UK. Founded by Kevin Bugler a dad of 3 Boys, 2 of which have been diagnosed with ASD and the eldest has many traits too.
After his boys were diagnosed Kevin searched locally and nationally and found very little support specifically for Dads that have children with Autism so started a local support group called HAD (Hillingdon Autism Dads) and after meeting and talking to Dads that had children with other disabilities that had been searching for support Kevin quickly decided to open the group up to all Dads with Children with any disability in the UK.
Kevin was faced with a tough task to get Dads to join the group as not many dads like Facebook and many Dads do not like to speak of their issues but although this is a problem the bigger problem was that the need to get the message to Dads that there is Support and Social group available for them wherever they are in the UK. Having changed the name from HAD to Hillingdon Dads Kevin successfully brought groups of Dads together from all walks of life and backgrounds to a group that had not preconception of anyone meeting locally and having a closed Facebook group where Dads could off load whatever they needed to at anytime since September 2015, Kevin again has seen a need for Hillingdon DADS to find a way to reach more and more Dads in the UK caring for children with Disabilities and SEN.
So September 2017 Kevin applied for a grant to create a website which will be designed to be a one stop shop where there would be public pages of what is happening and what is available in the UK in ways of Support for Parent/Carers of Children with Disabilities and SEN as well as Private Members Pages for Dads to talk in a Forum giving each other support when needed from anywhere in the UK helping their own needs as well as their families. Along with a Blog page which members can post stories (anonymously or named as they choose) which can be viewed publically.
At the same time as this Kevin was asked by a local councillor if he would like help financially to help Hillingdon DADS in any projects, so Kevin set to thinking how Hillingdon DADS could help Dads and their Families. For Kevin it was a no Brainer as Kevin loves a certain time of year because of the most famous dad of all time Father Christmas. So Kevin is organising the first Annual Hillingdon DADS Santa’s Grotto. In order to do such an event Hillingdon DADS had to move from being a support and Social Group to a Support and Social Charity (soon to be registered but fast on its way).
Kevin also wanted to include other Charities to help the Hillingdon DADS Santa’s Grotto start as we mean to go on so the annual event will get bigger and bigger each year. Initially Hillingdon DADS would be receiving Funding from Hillingdon Councillor Becky Haggar and a good friend and great inspiration of Kevin’s Anna Kennedy OBE has offered Support both personally and through her Charity Anna Kennedy Online. A local Mencap Hillingdon South are also helping by offering us a possible venue and support for the Grotto.
Hillingdon DADS as a Charity will continue to offer as much support to Dads and their Families as we can and we will be looking at ways of offering many services as and when we can. To be honest knowing how motivated Kevin is and seeing the great need of this support to Dads and their Families it will be sooner rather than later.