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NEWS&views

Hours of fun for kids in the fresh air

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DECADE on from their beginnings The Dangerous Dads Network continues to offer fathers a more active role in parenting with regular, fun outdoor activities for dads and children, mothers aren’t overlooked either with regular Muddy Mums sessions and family events. Families can access any of the activities run by twenty or so groups across Devon, Somerset and Cornwall. Network Co-ordinator Ian Blackwell said: “Dangerous Dads has really caught the imagination with families, carers and partners. Events are hugely popular with dads from all walks of life attending with their children to have a few hours of fun and fresh air. Dangerous Dads events are varied, from den-building or simply blackberry picking, to campfire cooking, rock-pooling, silly science and overnight camps. “With funding from The Big Lottery Awards for All programme and Devon & Cornwall Housing, and in partnership with Teignbridge and South Hams Children’s Centres, monthly events happen across South Devon, from Buckfastleigh and Bovey Tracey to Dartmouth and Ivybridge. We have a number of great activities planned for the autumn, including ‘wild walks’, den-building, Christmas wreath making, bushcraft skills and animal tracking. Events run on Saturday afternoons and all male carers are welcome to come to any of the activities. Events are usually free with a request for a donation. More information about all our

events are posted regularly on our website and Facebook page, or you can get email updates by joining our mailing list.” The partnership between The Dangerous Dads Network and Action for Children has been important as it means they can reach dads and children from all sections of the community. Elaine Musgrave, from Action for Children, explains: “By offering regular, fun activities, this initiative gives dads and their children the chance to spend quality time in each other’s company, as well as opportunities to explore local green spaces, meet up with neighbours and play. Our work is focused on supporting families and encouraging positive parenting skills, and we believe the kind of activities organised by the Dangerous Dads project helps us achieve our ambitions. We’d encourage all dads to try and get along to the activities.” For all information, contact Ian on 01803 840990 or info@ dangerousdads.org.uk and see their advert on page 12. All details are on the website www.dangerousdads.org.uk and on Facebook: look for ‘The Dangerous Dads Network’.

Branching out in Devon

Training to photograph offshore PLYMOUTH based documentary photographer TONY FITZSIMMONS gets specialist training to be an offshore photojournalist.

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ESPITE regular pictorial features in Fishing News and some wonderful emails from readers and comments via Twitter regarding my work, I still considered myself as a relative unknown in this very competitive world of photography and photojournalism. With the end of the Waterdance commission firmly in sight, I essentially figured my best approach was to hit the reset button and start all over again; treat the next venture as if I was about to head out on the Emily Rose for the first time, unpaid, unaware where this may lead, yet hopeful I would be noticed for future editorials and commissions. With the Offshore industry gathering momentum in the last few years, documenting this line of work did seem the next logical step. I certainly wasn’t turning my back on the lives and livelihoods of fishermen; I felt there was so much more to discover regarding this very important industry, particular with our waters (soon?) returning to the UK post-Brexit. With more fingers in more pies, it certainly did seem like a sensible move. I connected with a variety of Offshore companies on LinkedIN and with so much work to show off, and in particular, photography work at sea, gauging interest seemed a great deal easy than when I began canvasing Sutton Harbour, begging for anyone to take me out. The generally consensus seem to be happy to accommodate my every need, providing I successfully

completed an STCW10 (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers). Challenge accepted. I was lucky enough to find a training centre in Estover, Plymouth, just down the road from me. So I arranged a 5 day course although I was somewhat dismayed by the initial price of £800. That said, given what I had achieved so far since graduation, I wasn’t going to let anything get in the way. Thankfully, I was able to get a Christmas job at the Royal Mail as a Data Entry Keyer and this sum of money was quickly paid off. The only downside being I came away with an underlining hatred for everyday people’s handwriting. Under the calm and collected guidance of Paul Symons, Securewest’s Training and Compliance manger, I began the STCW10 with a day of sea survival exercises at Plymouth’s Life Centre, two days of fire fighting training at Plympton Fire Station, before moving back to Estover and into the classroom to wind down with handson medical demonstrations and maritime safety, responsibility and awareness slides and discussions. Experiencing the life of a fire fighter was certainly the highlight of an incredible series of exhausting days, as myself and four other lads were kitted up in full respiratory and fire tackling gear, tasked to rescue trapped dummies from a dark, smoke filled building with temperatures raging into the 140’s. I already had a great deal of respect for our many brave men and women in the life saving service. After this week and the situations I experienced, that reverence went through the roof. You can view Tony’s work at www. tonyfitzsimmons.com

DO YOU feel your community lacks the joys of Reconnect? Are you having to travel a long way to pick up this copy of our magazine? Do you know a business in your community that would like to take copies of the magazine? Perhaps you’re a local South Devon business reading this issue, and you’d like to stock Reconnect in your premises. If that’s the case then talk to Scott on 01392 346342 and see if you can be added to the distribution list. We don’t charge anything to stock the mag – we’d particularly like to hear from potential new outlets in the South Hams.

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