Our Dads

Thanks to the 793 dads who answered the Forging Families survey on dads asking what we could do to give more information and support. Thank you, your voices are the reason that this website exists.  We hope in it you find the support, the information and the fellowship of Dads that you spoke of.

Ashley Birch

Journalism MA student, failed musician, awkwardly shaped hipster dad of three.

Richard Dignall

Father of two children and feeder to far too many animals!

Lee Newton

Lee is a full time dad of two and part-time tutor. His specialism is science but since tutoring an autistic nine year old has branched into all subjects. He did his degree in Microbiology and Biotechnology many years ago now and specialised in brewing and fermentation technology. This culminated in the design of a beer that is still sold commercially despite it being intellectual property and not providing a penny. When he gets chance he's into Historical European Martial Arts, particularly the long sword. He also enjoys model making for his wargaming passion and as a family, recently joined the Medieval Siege Society. "You have to carve out time for yourself. Getting up at 'stupid-o-clock is my chance to have 'me time' lol"

Paul Webster

Paul Webster is a Media Studies graduate, who has written for a variety of Sheffield based publications; 'Exposed', 'Re:play', 'The Sheffield Star', the inaugural 2009 edition of 'Tramlines Times', 'Toast' magazine and 'Counterfeit'. Since the birth of his son in 2012, he became a blogger, a poet and an aspiring author. Paul's writing extended in the world of parenting, with contributions in print and online, such as in dad based blog-zine 'Father Inc'. His passions include baby-wearing and is a strong advocate for promoting male carrying and the many benefits it can bring to fatherhood. He also works to help raise awareness of paternal mental health issues through his writing and by sharing his own experiences through his personal blog.

Mark Williams

Mark Williams was awarded Local Hero at the Pride of Britain Awards and Inspirational Father of the year in 2012. He was also shortlisted for an award with Mind Media the same year. In 2016 he was chosen to meet the Royal Family on Worlds Mental Health Day 2016. Mark has written about Fathers' mental health in several publications and has appeared on BBC Breakfast, ITV NEWS, Good Morning Britain and Channel 5. His story has been told in USA, Austraila New Zealand,Canada, Africa, Asia. He has also appeared in television documentaries concerning mental health including Channel 5's My Secret Past on Postnatal Depression with Jennifer Ellison. He is an author, blogger, vlogger and most importantly, an activist for mental health.

Our Professionals

Amanda Burleigh

Amanda has been in Midwifery practice for over 29 years. Although most of her practice has been in Leeds, she also worked as a Midwife in New Zealand, experiencing a very different model of Midwifery care. Over twelve years ago Amanda began to challenging the practice of immediate cord clamping after realising that this common routine practice had absolutely no evidence base and deprived babies of valuable stem cell enriched full blood. Amanda has campaigned for a change in practice from immediate cord clamping to delayed cord clamping and has seen all national and international guidelines change their guidance to recommend this. Amanda is a co-inventor of the award winning Basics/Lifestart trolley which enables vulnerable babies to be ventilated whilst the umbilical cord is kept intact to ensure they receive their full blood benefit. Amanda has written many articles and talked at numerous events about optimal cord clamping and changing practice and fully harnessed the power of social media by participating in an international network of midwives, doctors, birth-workers and parents who share and disseminate the latest in research and education regarding optimal cord clamping. Amanda has been nominated and won several awards for her work in this area including Midwife of the Year 2015, British Journal of Midwifery and Midwife of the Year 2012, Yorkshire Evening Post. She works with and supports midwives in other countries to enable them to give informed choice and practical guidance in optimal cord clamping.

Lesley Carter

Lesley trained originally as a mental health nurse before going into teaching in higher education and retraining as a psychotherapist She runs bespoke mindful birthing sessions for couples as well as helping individuals with emotional difficulties. Lesley takes an integrative solution focused approach to helping and for more information please visit her website:

Elisabeth Charis

Health visitor, lactation consultant and Trustee of Forging Families

Sophie Fletcher

Sophie Fletcher is a clinical hypnotherapist, co-founder of Mindful Mamma and author of the bestselling book 'Mindful Hypnobirthing'.

Rachel Gardner

Rachel is Mother of two fabulous little ones, Annie and Ossie. She has been a secondary teacher, antenatal teacher and researcher, and now the very proud Founder and Head of Forging Families – a charity in Sheffield that works to support, inform and act as a voice for Sheffield families. Forging Families works alongside Sheffield MSLC, Sheffield maternity services, Sheffield Public Health, the Health Visiting team and the CCG to further improve services for the families of Sheffield.

Dany Griffiths

Dany Griffiths is Co-founder and Creator of The Wise Hippo programmes for Bump, Birth and Baby. My big passion is promoting self-worth and emotional well-being, particularly for parents and parents-to-be. Which means that when I am looking at what happens during pregnancy, birth and parenting and how I can prepare my Wise Hippo couples for that, either directly or through my programmes, the number one question in my mind is how can parents come out of this experience feeling empowered, confident and positive about that experience?

Kath Harbisher

Kath Harbisher is a daughter, sister, wife, mother and grandmother. She is a doula and qualified counsellor with a special interest in birth trauma, PND and perinatal mental health concerns. She also supports sexual and domestic abuse survivors who are now adults. She strives to ‘dare greatly’ and to help and support others in doing the same.

Tracy Harper

First and foremost I am a mum to three lovely little girls (including twins!) A Wifey, Experienced Hypnobirthing Instructor, Birth & Postnatal Doula & EYFS teacher with QTS. My twins were born at 40 & 2 weeks gestation and I delivered my first daughter at home. I am very passionate about birth choice and can offer specialist twin support – in person or via email, call or text. Every family I support is unique and I always pride myself on providing care in a way that is just right for you and your family, regardless of what your birthing circumstances and options may be. Overall most would say that I am a bit of a birth junkie and love all things bump, birth and beyond! For further information about the services I offer across Herts & Essex please visit my website:

Nicole Hastie

Nicole Hastie is a Director of Kangaroo Care UK. She is their lead educator, providing resources, training and seminars on skin to skin contact and Kangaroo Care for parents and professionals in the UK. Kangaroo Care UK works to promote skin to skin contact for all babies and parents in the UK through their education work. They are specialist suppliers of Kangaroo Care wraps to the NHS and clothing for mums and dads which enable hands free skin to skin contact.

Rachel James

Rachel James co-runs Cambridge VBAC Friends, a peer support group for women planning birth after caesarean. She is a service user rep at Cambridge MSLC and Cambridge NCT’s caesarean birth & VBAC contact. She is a director of Caesarean in Focus CIC, a community interest company which aims to improve caesarean birth for women and families. Rachel is a mother to two small people born in 2011 and 2013. She works as a marketing manager in the charitable sector.

Rosie Knowles

Rosie is a mum of two, a GP, and a passionate advocate of promoting and improving attachment between babies and parents, in particular, by increasing carrying behaviour (in arms or in carriers/slings). She wrote the book "Why Babywearing Matters" with this focus in mind and speaks on the topic at conferences around the UK and Europe. She runs the Carrying Matters resources which include the Sheffield Sling Surgery, a consultancy and sling library service in Sheffield, with a team that supports thousands of parents across the region.

Joanne Poskitt

Specialist Midwife Vulnerabilities Team .. specialising drug and alcohol services. A national speaker regarding fetal alcohol syndrome. Currently undertaking her Masters in Advancing midwifery practice. Jo is also a Hypnobirthing practitioner and Hypnobirthing mum herself to children Jack and Poppy. Set up the Barnsley babies initiative sleep safe project throughout South Yorkshire.

Gina Potts

Gina Potts is Director of ZenBirth – Hypnobirthing UK. She comes from an academic research background, and since 2009 has spent much of her time researching into all aspects of maternity care, pregnancy, birth and women’s postnatal health. In 2011, she founded ZenBirth and has helped hundreds of couples have a positive birth experience. Gina now leads a growing team of ZenBirth instructors who provide antenatal hypnobirthing education courses across London and the South East of the UK.

Michelle Quashie

Michelle is a mum to four children who has had two EMCS followed by two VBACs. Michelle is a representative for her local Positive Birth Movement, Maternity Services Liaison Committee and the organiser of the Women's Voices Conference.

Hannah Tizard

Hannah is a third year student from UC Lancashire. Her website is www.bloodtobaby.com where there are free delayed cord clamping resources.

Vicky Wilkins

Owner and teacher at Calm Creations Hypnobirthing