We provide expert advice, practical support and campaign for single parents
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How it works here
The forums are a great place to have a chat and share your experiences and opinions. We’ve compiled a list of common questions to help you get the most out of being a forum member.
How are the forums moderated?
Our forums are checked regularly by a small team of moderators whose role it is to ensure everyone keeps to the rules so the forums remain a safe a supportive place for single parents.
Please remember, the forums are open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year and it is simply not possible to check each and every post. All forums users are expected know the forums rules and be familiar with our netiquette guidance.
Any forums users who are found to be breaching the forums rules may, without warning, have their post/s partially or completely removed; their forum account deactivated and membership of Gingerbread withdrawn.
Any forums users in severe emotional distress, or seeking help for an urgent issue, are strongly recommended to go to our If You Need Help Urgently section on this page, where you can find a list of organisations offering immediate support.
Can I report posts?
Yes. Our forums users are generally very friendly and supportive, but if you come across a post that you think breaks the rules, or a post that concerns you, you can let us know by reporting it (at the bottom of each post, to the right of the reply button, is a report button).
Only the Gingerbread team and our moderators will know you have reported it. We will look into all reported posts as soon as we possibly can, usually within 24-48 hours, but it may take longer during busy times and outside office hours (Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm), so please be patient.
Are there any forums rules I need to be aware of?
Yes, we’ve got a few rules to help the forums run smoothly and make sure that everyone feels comfortable getting involved. We’ve also written a ‘netiquette’ guide, which you’ll find below, to help you find the best ways to get involved.
We’re really happy for the conversation to flow freely and easily on the forums, but there are some things which we simply won’t tolerate:
• Harassment of other members
• Personal attacks on other members
• Extreme swearing
• Acting in a continuously disruptive manner which upsets other members
• Spamming – posts about products you want to sell, or things that simply aren’t relevant, copies of chain letters or links to potentially damaging .exe files (executable files).
• For your own safety, we also recommend that you don’t post personal contact details such as email addresses and phone numbers, and be careful about posting other personal information (such as the names of your children, where you live etc). If you’ve made a friend on the forums you can always use the private messaging function to contact them.
Fancy being a moderator? Email the email@example.com to find out more.
Gingerbread’s guide to ‘netiquette’
Following ‘net etiquette’ can help you to make friends online and can help you get your views and opinions across without offending someone accidentally. Here are a few hints and tips.
PLEASE DON’T SHOUT
Using capital letters is just like shouting, which can sometimes seem rude and inappropriate.
Do as you would be done by
It’s easy to become a keyboard warrior, taking on the latest internet crusade but please remember there’s a person at the other end whose feelings you could seriously hurt. If you feel upset or angry at something that has been written then take a break before replying. If you’re not sure what someone is getting at – try reading it again and if really unsure – ask them to clarify what they mean. We’re a diverse group of people, we all have different ways of expressing ourselves and our differing views and experiences. Let’s celebrate that!
It’s a private message for a reason
If someone sends you a private message – please respect that privacy. It’s frowned on by the moderators to post these on the public forum and your fellow community members probably won’t appreciate it either.
Don’t feed the trolls
Sometimes people insist on stirring up trouble and the worst thing you can do is respond to it. If someone says something that you think goes against our terms and conditions then please report it to a moderator.
Smileys are ok by us
Smileys (emoticons) and acronyms can help you to let people know how you’re feeling. But a personal attack is never acceptable, whether you use smileys or not.
Everyone was new once
Be patient with people who are new. The moderators should be able to guide people who are posting inappropriately, but getting stroppy with new people helps no one. A friendly face (or emoticon ;) ) is what everyone needs when they’re first dipping their toe in.
Keeping our community safe
We want Gingerbread to be a friendly and welcoming place that supports its members. We have moderators in place to make sure it stays this way and to guide members to do the right thing. However, if someone repeatedly goes against our guidelines then they will be banned permanently. We only do this as a last resort but we do this to protect everyone else.
Have fun! We hope our community will provide the support and friends that you are looking for. We’re always open to suggestions for improvements and if you’re interested in moderating, you can drop an email to the membership team to be considered if a place becomes available.
Can I talk to another member privately on the forums?
Yes, you can send them a private message – like an email which only they will read. While it can be nice to chat on a more personal level sometimes, we don’t advise that you send private messages to other forum members until you’ve had a chance to get to know each other a bit in the forums. It can feel a bit intimidating to be contacted by a stranger, so if you’d like to talk to someone directly, post a message for them in the forums and ask if it would be ok to send them a private message. Read more about private messaging in this handy guide from one of our forum moderators.
Where to go for advice
The forums provide friendship and an informal place to “talk it over” with other single parents. Our members chat about all kinds of things in the forums – ranging from serious issues to holidays and fun activities with the kids. We know it can be a great help to hear from others who’ve been through similar experiences. However, not everyone’s situation is the same and information is changing rapidly so it’s always best to ask an expert for advice on the bigger stuff – such as separation, benefits, employment and housing.
Some situations require you to take urgent action for example if you are being made homeless, are experiencing domestic violence or are worried about the safety of a child. To help you get to the right people quickly, we’ve compiled a list of organisations that are the best people to help you in these situations. Go to If You Need Help Urgently.
If you’re feeling very low and are worried you might harm yourself or someone else, you should call 999 or go to your local Accident and Emergency department.
The Gingerbread Single Parent Helpline is staffed by trained advisers who can help you understand the options open to you. The advisors can give you advice and information about:
• All welfare benefits and tax credits
• Housing options when you become a single parent
• Child maintenance
• Working and studying
• Family issues such as separation and contact
• Finding and paying for childcare
• The first steps to take in coping with debt
• Where to get legal advice if you need it
• Other organisations that can help you.
Call 0808 802 0925 to talk to an adviser. Calls are free from UK landlines and most mobiles. Click here for helpline opening hours.
Want to talk to an adviser but would rather do it online? Join our regular online advice sessions, each on a different topic relevant to single parent families, and get your questions answered directly.
Gingerbread has a series of factsheets to give you expert advice and practical information on a range of topics. These include benefits, money, family law, housing and the wellbeing of you and your family. Each factsheet also contains a list of useful organisations.
You can read the factsheets online or request them from our helpline.
For help finding information about your circumstances quickly, try Gingerbread’s online tailored advice. Our email advice packs cover all the ins and outs of a range of topics such as child maintenance and returning to work. They are sent straight to your inbox, allowing you to read through the information relevant to you, privately at your own speed, and all in one place. We are also have a series of interactive tools – such as a teenage parents benefits finder or ‘when your child turns 16’ online advice tool – Through a series of questions the online tools will identify for you what help you are entitled to.
If you’re a dad bringing up children on your own, our single dads pages offer advice and information tailored to your circumstances. The pages cover separation, bereavement, work, study, childcare, benefits and tax credits, arrangements for family life and parenting and the law. You can also read stories from other single dads or join the single dads forum thread to share your experiences.
Other useful organisations
If you plan to contact these organisations by phone you may like to know if you will be charged for the call.
• 0808 numbers are free from UK landlines and most mobiles
• 0800 numbers are free from landlines but mobile providers may charge for the call
• All other numbers may incur a charge
Advice and information services
Gingerbread Single Parent Helpline
0808 802 0925
Advice and information on benefits, maintenance, childcare, housing, debt, employment and family law issues
Gingerbread Northern Ireland
0808 808 8090
Advice and information on benefits, maintenance, housing, debt, employment and legal issues.
One parent Families Scotland
0808 801 0323
Advice and information on welfare benefits, childcare, legal issues relating to separation and divorce, maintenance, housing, funding for further/higher education and employment rights.
England and Wales: 08444 111 444
Northern Ireland: 02890 231 120
Scotland: 0131 550 1000
Find an advisor at http://advicefinder.turn2us.org.uk
Use this website to find your nearest advice service.
Information on a wide range of subjects.
Child Benefit Helpline
0300 200 3100 - Child Benefit Helpline
0300 200 3103 - Child Benefit Minicom
Provides information and advice in connection with child benefit claims.
Jobcentre Plus Benefits Enquiries
0800 055 6688 (England)
0800 012 1888 (Wales)
0800 023 4888 (England)
0800 243 355 (Wales)
Processes new and renewal claims for welfare benefits.
Benefit Enquiry Line Northern Ireland
0800 055 6688 (free from landlines)
0800 243 787 (minicom)
Information and advice about all state benefits, offers personal benefit calculations, and help
completing forms for Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and Carer's Allowance
Benefit Enquiry Line for People with Disabilities
0800 882 200 (England)
0845 6067 890 (Wales)
0800 243 355 (England)
0845 6044 022 (Wales)
Provides help and support in connection with benefits for people with disabilities, and people who are sick, and their carers and representatives.
Tax credit helplines
0345 120 3779
Independent and confidential tax advice to people who are on low income.
Tax Credit Helpline
0845 300 3900
Offers information and advice concerning applications/ renewals for child tax credit and working tax credit.
If you need help urgently
While the forums are a great place to share experiences, talk through what’s going on in your family’s life and get another person’s perspective on things, there are certain situations where expert help is needed and quickly. In this section you can find details of organisation that have experience in giving you the specific help you need.
All of these organisations listed here provide their services for free but some organisations may charge you for the telephone call.
Get chatting and meet new single parent friends in the Gingerbread online forums
A guide to using the Gingerbread forums, plus our netiquette and rules.
Details of organisations, including Gingerbread, that can support single parents
If things get too much, details of where to go for immediate help
Helpline: 0808 802 0925
Gingerbread is registered in England and Wales as the National Council for One Parent Families, a company limited by guarantee, no. 402748, and a charity, no. 230750
© Gingerbread 2010