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'Single parents: you're brilliant' says national charity

23 September 2010

‘Single parents: you're brilliant’ says national charity

Gingerbread today launches a 'You're Brilliant' campaign to reach single parents with the practical advice and support they need in the current economic climate. Backing the one in four families headed by a single mum or dad, Gingerbread’s message to single parents is that they’re doing a great job, but with tough times ahead there’s help available for them when they need it.

Many single parents tell Gingerbread that they are fed up with attitudes that cast them as scroungers if they do not have a job, or as bad parents – when the evidence shows they do a good job of bringing up their children (1). Six out of ten single parents are already managing to juggle a job with bringing up their children, and most of those on benefits are keen to work but can’t find jobs that fit with school times, or can’t find childcare (2).  

In Britain today there are 1.9 million single parents raising nearly three million children (3). Most are struggling to make ends meet and will be hard-hit by both the planned budget cuts and the forthcoming cuts to public spending (4).  With single parent families affected more than most groups by the cuts, Gingerbread is urging single parents to get online or pick up the phone and get practical advice to help them make ends meet.

Gingerbread Chief Executive Fiona Weir said: 

“Single parents are raising happy, healthy children and most are holding down a job too. They deserve praise, not criticism, for the brilliant achievements they make.”

The campaign is being backed by Gingerbread supporter, single mum and star of Strictly Come Dancing and Spooks, Laila Rouass, who said:

“Most single parents are strong, capable people doing their best for their children – we’re all likely to know someone bringing up a family alone for one reason or another, and the vast majority do a great job of it.  As a single parent it’s hard not to be affected by the negative stereotyping that still goes on.  Sometimes everyone needs to be told they’re brilliant, and I’m pleased to support Gingerbread in doing just that for single parents.”

As part of the You’re Brilliant campaign Gingerbread is launching a new website providing expert help and information, including vital money-saving tips, job-search advice and support with sorting out issues around separation. Centred around a forum for single parents, the website enables single parents to share information and support each other. Single parents can join up free as Gingerbread members via the website, giving them access to a range of member benefits and discounts.

Fiona Weir added:

“Now more than ever, single parents are facing a really difficult time because of the economic downturn. This is why we believe it’s the right time to launch Gingerbread’s new website and offer single parents the helping hand they may need.”

Gingerbread’s website can be visited at www.gingerbread.org.uk It’s free Single Parent Helpline on 0808 802 0925 is open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, with late opening on Wednesdays until 8pm.

Notes to Editors:

(1) Doing better for children, a major review of the evidence for the OECD published in 2009, concluded that “the more sophisticated [research] methodologies typically give a null or lower effect on the child outcomes of being brought up by a single parent”.

(2) 57% of single parents work (Labour Force Survey 2009).

(3) Economic and Labour Market Review, February 2009, Office for National Statistics
 
(4) An Institute for Fiscal Studies analysis published in August by End Child Poverty - of which Gingerbread is a member - shows non-working single parents will lose nearly 7% of their income as a result of the June budget while those with a job will lose almost 4%. The full report can be downloaded at http://www.ifs.org.uk/bns/bn108.pdf A TUC report published on 12th September, Where the Money Goes, shows that single parents are among the social groups that lose the most from public spending cuts.

You’re Brilliant is the next phase of Gingerbread’s Let’s Lose the Labels campaign that responds in a positive and non-stigmatising way to single parents’ great need for information and advice, given the impact of the budget and the anticipated public spending cuts on single parent families.

Gingerbread is the charity which works nationally and locally, for and with single parent families, to improve their lives. We achieve change by championing their voices and needs and providing support services.
 
Gingerbread runs a free Single Parent Helpline and advice service on 0808 802 0925 (free to mobile networks) and publishes a range of free publications on every aspect of single parent family life, including benefits and tax, child maintenance, housing and employment.  Gingerbread also runs a membership scheme and several return-to-work projects for single parents, working with private, public and other voluntary sector organisations to deliver these.

For further media information please call the Gingerbread press office on 020 7428 5406/5782. Out of hours please call 07881 951138.

 

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