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We provide expert advice, practical support and campaign for single parents

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How single parents shape our work

As the national charity working for and with single parent families, Gingerbread is trusted because our work is grounded in the needs, views and aspirations of single parents. 

Our accountability commitment:

  • When Gingerbread speaks out we aim to be clear whether it is with, for or on behalf of single parents 
  • We work to communicate real voices and to enable single parents to make their voices heard directly
  • We respect the diversity of the UK’s 1.9 million single parents and aim to reflect that in what we say
  • When we speak for single parents, we will be clear how what we say is based on evidence and feedback from single parents
  • If there are problems, we’ll make it easy for people to make a complaint and to know that it will be acted on.

How we work with single parents

As the national charity working with single parent families, it is vital that Gingerbread is in touch with the views and experiences of single parents.

When Gingerbread decides what services to provide and how to improve them, we need to be sure these choices are shaped by single parents’ needs. 

We made information and advice a top priority because single parents said it was so important, and we’re now trying to understand better how best to deliver this.

When Gingerbread talks to government or the media and calls for policy changes, we need to be confident these are the top concerns of single parents and will make a real impact on single parents’ lives. 

Our single parents’ manifesto and our policy reports are packed with the views of single parents. Our major campaign Let’s Lose the Labels which challenges stereotyping of single parents was a direct response to single parents telling us they wanted to hear us speaking out on these issues.

Gingerbread works hard to make sure single parents voices are heard by policy makers and the media.  

To get this right we listen carefully to what single parents are telling us. 

We do this in many ways:

  • We look carefully at calls to the Gingerbread Single Parent Helpline to understand what’s happening each week and what issues are concerns. We’ll often raise examples – anonymised of course – when we talk to ministers or MPs
  • Our researchers interview single parents or talk to them in groups about issues we need to understand in more depth
  • We regularly survey our members and include their responses in policy and media briefings
  • Sometimes single parents agree to be interviewed by the media – or to talk to politicians - and tell their stories directly. This is very powerful and we support single parents to do this
  • Many of our trustees are single parents or grew up in a single parent family and make use of this experience – alongside specific skills and expertise they bring – to help shape our strategy. We advertise trustee vacancies on our website and to our members
  • We are starting to hold regular consultation meetings to help us understand single parents’ perspectives and make sure this shapes how we make decisions
  • The forums on our website will feature some of the big choices we have to make and provide opportunities for single parents and partners we work closely with to input
  • Every year we collect all the compliments and complaints we’ve had from single parents and the board of trustees asks the management team to explain how we will act on what we’re hearing.