Families need fathers plymouth fnf plymouth Meeting Notice and Newsletter

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FNF Plymouth Meeting Notice and Newsletter

Dear member, supporter, or interested person

1. Next Meeting

The next meeting will be on Tuesday 2nd July 2013 at 7.30 pm at the St Budeaux Community Centre, Wolseley Road, St Budeaux, Plymouth, PL5 1UD. This is a trial outreach meeting.
The community centre opens daily 11 to 11 and there is a bar.

Visitors are permitted to park in the Lidl car park.

The community centre is on the west side of the road next to Lidl supermarket. Opposite, on the east side of the road, is a row of shops. Beware: there is another Lidl supermarket up Wolseley Road at North Prospect.

St Budeaux is well connected for NW Plymouth, Cornwall, and the Tamar Valley.

Our central meeting place remains the RAOB Social Club, North Hill: we'll be back there in the autumn.

2. Contents

  1. Next Meeting

  2. Contents

  3. Notices

  4. Key References, especially for Litigants in Persons

  5. Contacts

  6. Next Meeting Additional Information

  7. Local Family Prolegals

  8. Library

  9. About FNF

  10. Publishing and Distribution

  11. Appendices

3. Notices

3.1. Local Information

Plymouth trial of 'The 3 of Us'

A new Department for Education backed service for first time parents and parents-to-be, to help support their relationships in the transition to becoming parents.



Help Wanted

FNF Plymouth is run by volunteers. If you value our service offer then please consider volunteering. Numerous committee opportunities. Please contact the General Secretary for further information.

Reasons to contribute:

  • Give the benefit of your experience to help other parents and children;

  • Meet interesting people;

  • Learn new skills;

  • Gain a fuller knowledge of family law so that you are better able to protect your and your children’s interests;

  • Campaign against injustice and discrimination.

Vacant positions:

  • Membership Secretary

  • Treasurer

  • Fundraising Officer

  • Promotions Officer

  • Media Officer

  • Website Officer

  • Meeting Hosts

Liaison officers and specialists for: domestic abuse, child abuse, education, health, solicitors, mediators, Cafcass, courts, and women’s groups

Free Legal Advice

Routeways’ Family Information Service (Wolferstans solicitors)

Information and guidance on divorce, separation, cohabitation disputes, childcare and domestic violence. Four 30-minute appointments 10 to 12 every Thursday, by appointment, at their office at: 41-43 Chapel Street, Mount Wise, Plymouth, PL1 4DU; t: 0800 783 4259.


Plymouth Parent Partnership

A universal support service for all parents and carers, including a specialised service to parents and carers of children with additional or special needs and disabilities.


Family Information Service

Plymouth Routeways' guidance on services and support available to members of all the family. Includes a Financial Inclusion Service for benefit and tax credit advice.


Routeways Centre Ltd, 41/43 Chapel Street, Mount Wise, PL1 4DU

t: 0800 783 4259; e: info@routeways.org.uk; w: http://www.routeways.org.uk

3.2 National Information

Childcare Best Practice

'Bringing up Britain' on BBC Radio 4: '… a debate about parenting with families, experts and policy-makers'. Value listening for aspiring perfect parents.



FNF’s eNewsletter

Keep up-to-date: sign up to FNF’s regular national newsletter for news of FNF’s most recent work, campaigns, and initiatives.


4. Key References, especially for Litigants in Persons



http://www.thecustodyminefield.com - information links at the bottom of the sales pitch



5. Contacts

Meeting information:


Follow us on Twitter:

http://twitter.com/FNF_Plymouth @FNF_Plymouth.



For more information on FNF, including comprehensive subject information and membership, see http://www.fnf.org.uk . Membership opens up a second tier of information and support and other benefits.

Local telephone support:

Andy: 01752 793 325

Adrian and Liz: 01752 492 091

Adrian: 07747 656 942

Liz: 07733 005 944

6. Next Meeting Additional Information

Please come:

  • if you need assistance;

  • to give assistance;

  • to make and renew friendships;

  • to build your interest and knowledge of family law;

  • to build the group (several vacancies);

  • to campaign for changes to family law.

All welcome: men and women; parents, grand-parents, guardians and their partners and friends; members and non-members. You can be as vocal or as anonymous as you wish. Guest speakers are welcome.

The following professionals frequently attend our meetings in support:

David Pitcher of Plymouth Cafcass. Love them or hate them, FNF and litigants need a good relationship with Cafcass because of their key role in court childcare proceedings. David is a Family Court Advisor, Children’s Guardian, and Honorary Social Work Adviser to the Grandparents’ Association. He attends in a private capacity.


A New Meeting Plan


FNF Plymouth has changed its help meeting format. Although still largely a self-help round-table meeting, it has a tighter structure and a substantial emphasis on networking and involves dividing into sub-groups.

Meetings are now two-monthly or more often when demand and support allow.

Please help us make a success of this change by returning to help others.

Meeting Structure

Meetings have five parts:

Time (pm)





Welcome and introductions



Sub-group discussion; 70 minutes



Break and networking



Group discussion; 60 minutes






To the bar or pub - especially for dry meeting venues – for more discussion and networking

Clients and helpers are divided into sub-groups, possibly by problem type, where clients are invited to pitch their problem for 'unloading' and issue identification, assisted by a sub-group leader. After a short break, sub-groups reunite for sub-group leaders to objectively summarise their clients' problems for short, objective, solution-finding discussion.

Clients should leave the meeting with hope and direction and with a greater understanding of their issues and how to resolve them, as well as contacts and new friends.

Throughout the meeting clients are encouraged to network with other attendees: by buddy up with other clients for mutual support and/ or to prospect to service providers, including prolegals.

For low client numbers/ sub-group leaders ratios (less than two subgroups of three people), the meeting will revert to the original group-only format.

Prepare your Pitch

Time will be strictly rationed, so please prepare your pitch before the meeting.

When pitching, please state:

  • Your name;

  • Your children's name and ages;

  • Other parties' names;

  • Your relationship status;

  • Whether you have Parental Responsibility* (PR)? See http://www.fnf.org.uk/law-and-information/parental-responsibility or ask

  • The geographical situation;

  • Extant court orders and active court action;

  • Alternative dispute resolution (especially mediation) status;

  • What you want from the meeting.

The Help Meeting Client Pitch Form, available from http://plymouth.fnf.org.uk/info/documentlist.html will assist you.
Attractive for Returners

Our new meetings are more attractive for past clients to return to offer the benefit of their experience.
Meeting Variety

The RAOB Social Club remains our central meeting place but we will try other venues to outreach to their community, especially when they advertise FNF and our meeting.

Wednesday remains our normal meeting day but we will try other days to be attractive to those with mid-week childcare and those with other commitments.

We aim to offer a variety of venue by type, location, day, and even time of day, including selected solicitors' offices – but please be assured of our independence. To offer a venue, please contact the General Secretary.

Two-monthly or more often when demand and support allow.
Advice Disclaimer

FNF Plymouth gives suggestions on evident information. Meetings are informal, information disclosures are simplified, and contributors may not be professionally qualified.

Q: When and where do you meet?

A: We meet monthly in a private room at the R.A.O.B. Social Club, 41 North Hill, Plymouth, PL4 8EZ. We meet on the first or second Wednesday of the month at 7.30 pm.

Q: Where is the R.A.O.B. Social Club?

A: Opposite a Spa shop on the west side of North Hill, with a bus stop outside.

From Drake Circus: ascend North Hill, the club is on the left just after the old reservoir.

From Mutley Plain: ascend and descend North Hill, the club is on the right after the North Road East traffic lights.


There is free on street parking nearby.

North Hill is on a main route between the city centre and Mutley Plain. The club has a bus stop outside and is a safe 1km and 15 minutes walk from Plymouth railway station.

Future meetings dates are advertised at http://plymouth.fnf.org.uk

Q. I want to arrive early. What time does the venue open?

A. The venue opens at 7.00pm and you are welcome to wait in the bar or meeting room

Q: Who are the R.A.O.B.?

A: ‘Our basic desire is to defend the weak, help the unfortunate and render assistance to those in difficulty or need.’

Other Meetings

FNF Exeter meets on the last Thursday of the month, http://fnfexeter.org.uk, but please check with the organisers. Please advise me if you will be attending and can offer transport from the Plymouth area.

FNF Barnstaple meets on the first Monday of the month. Contact Johnnie: barnstaplefnf@yahoo.co.uk or 07561 314 172

Also see:



7. Local Family Prolegals

Solicitors, barristers, professional McKenzie friends, and other fee-charging legal advisers/ advocates - hereafter called 'prolegals' - may wish to attend FNF meetings. Prolegals trade in a range of ways, from professionally qualified to unqualified, from partners in large practices to independent sole traders. Their knowledge, resources, and enthusiasm can be a huge benefit to the branch/ group and its clients.

FNF Plymouth does not recommend particular prolegals but we may suggest particular prolegals for our clients to consider. Caveat emptor (buyer beware): satisfy yourself of their suitability.

Local Independent Family Prolegals

Organisation Name


Principal Role

Contact Name

Telephone Number

Website and Email Addresses

Dart Legal Services



Ms Rachel Howlett

01364 644 888



Law Choice


McKenzie friend

Ms Ria Cohen

07791 881 697

01752 843 746 (8am to 8pm any day)




N Plymouth

McKenzie friend

Andrew Bull

01752 793 325


More information on McKenzie friends at http://www.fnf.org.uk/law-and-information/mckenzie-friends

8. About Families Need Fathers (FNF)

Families Need Fathers is a registered UK charity which provides information and support to parents, including unmarried parents, of either sex. FNF is chiefly concerned with the problems of maintaining a child's relationship with both parents during and after family breakdown. Founded in 1974, FNF helps thousands of parents every year. For more information, including comprehensive subject information and membership, http://www.fnf.org.uk

Opinions expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of FNF.

FNF Plymouth offers local services and is run by volunteers; join us.

9. Publishing and Distribution

Email the secretary to add/ delete your contacts to/ from his distribution list.

Andrew Bull, General Secretary, Families Need Fathers (FNF) Plymouth Group; e: ajbull_plasma@yahoo.com; t: 01752 793 325.

10. Appendices

Appendix 1: Biographies

FNF Plymouth

Since its first meeting in October 2006, FNF Plymouth has helped hundreds of people. It was established to provide a monthly self-help round table meetings by Andrew Bull and Adrian Crosbee; FNF Exeter (Peter Pojuner and Ian Tyers in particular) provided much early years help. Its capability was greatly enhanced by the arrival of David Pitcher in October 2010. October seems to be a key month for us!

Andrew Bull

Andrew reached the end of his divorce/ separation proceedings in 2010. Frustrated at the ineffectiveness and inefficiency of the standard lawyer-led process, he turned to FNF for help. After joining in 2005 and attending an FNF Exeter meeting, he decided his best way forward was to get involved in FNF to meet people who could help him. He co-founded the FNF Plymouth group in 2006 and continues serving as its general secretary.

He has represented himself in court (normally with the assistance of a McKenzie Friend) 17 times for divorce, Children Act, and ancillary relief (now called financial remedy) proceedings.

Andrew, 52, from Tamerton Foliot, Plymouth, has a 13 year old son who was 5 years old when his mother petitioned for divorce (announced/ received by post whilst he was cooking the family breakfast on a Saturday morning). He was the primary carer whilst his wife pursued her professional career (as a lawyer!). He is now a 50% carer in a shared care arrangement.

Although qualified as a chartered engineer, Andrew has given up pursuing an engineering career; instead, additional to childcare, he is pursing self-employment interests including legal help and McKenzie friending for family law.

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AJB 22-Jun-17

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