These guidelines help all single parents to be safe and supported when taking part in the Gingerbread community including our forum, digital community and groups, local groups and social media. When you use these services, you agree to follow these guidelines. We moderate our community and may provide users with guidance or take other action if we feel the guidelines have not been followed.

Our guidelines

Community members will:

  • Be kind to each other. Many people in the single parent community are going through a difficult time and a few kind words can go a long way.
  • Welcome new people and be especially nice to them.
  • Be sensitive to the feelings and opinions of others – everyone’s experience is unique and, while you might not always agree, you can disagree in a respectful manner.
  • Consider what you’re going to say and how it may impact others.
  • Be aware that all contributions are made by single parents and are drawn from their own lived experiences.
  • Share your personal experiences – which can give others hope, as well as ideas and tips to try out.
  • Consider responding to posts or comments from community members who need support and haven’t yet received a reply.
  • Use private messages appropriately and respect other people’s boundaries. If you are going to share personal information or arrange to meet, please read our information on staying safe below.
  • Report any concerns if you feel someone, whether a child or adult, at risk of significant harm.
  • Respect all cultural and religious beliefs and if you have them do not try to convert to your own.
  • Report any concerns, including posts or comments (public or private) which make you uncomfortable or appear suspicious. Do not raise your concerns on the online feed.
  • If you need professional advice and guidance, please contact our webchat or helpline.

Community members won’t:

  • Give instructive advice – you can get professional advice from our webchat or helpline.
  • Use behaviour and language that’s disruptive or offensive or excludes other community members.
  • Post anything is discriminatory, for example, anything is racist, homophobic, sexist, transphobic, personally abusive or dismissive about people’s experiences.
  • Include personal details on the online feed. (These are allowed in private messaging and in our local groups WhatsApp threads but do not share other people’s contact details without gaining their consent). See our guidance on staying safe below.
  • Share or copy other users’ content or contacts from the forum or online or digital / local groups with others, or on other platforms, unless you have their permission.
  • Post media requests, research requests or petitions or campaigns, without permission from Gingerbread.
  • Post links to websites on the forum without agreement from Gingerbread. You may post links on social media and digital groups without permission but please be aware we may delete these if we feel they do not match our values, follow our guidelines or provide the best advice available.
  • Promote commercial ventures including ads for accommodation, products, services or activities where there is a cost or a fee.
  • Spam or troll.

Staying safe

Most people using the Gingerbread forum, digital groups. local groups and social media are sincere and honest but there are exceptions. Be aware of how to protect your privacy and keep yourself and others safe online and when meeting people.

Stop communicating with anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable and report them to Gingerbread. See how to report a concern below.

If you feel you may be vulnerable to someone watching or stalking you online, follow this guidance from Refuge. It explains how to secure your online and social media accounts and where to get help.

Be careful what information you share

The forum is an anonymous space. Don’t share any information that may identify you or others, or make you or others vulnerable. This includes your name, contact details, children’s details or images, confidential or legal information.

When using our digital groups or social media, you may choose to share your name, but be careful not to share any information that may make you or others vulnerable. You may share personal information in private messaging, but please follow the guidance below.

Do not respond to money requests or offers of free help

There is a risk that there may be may be predators on our online services, just like any online space. Don’t be drawn in by pleas for help which may not be genuine . There’s no reason for you to provide someone with your bank account details or lend money. If a forum user asks for money or your bank account details stop all contact and email us to report it. Also, don’t fall for offers of help such as  someone is offering free legal advice or representation.

Get to know people and take your time

Please don’t get a false sense of security because you’re part of a Gingerbread community or group.  There’s a limit to our ability to verify the information that forum and group members provide and some users may not have good intentions and may not be who they say they are. Be wary if someone seems vague in their communication about their interests and children or often repeats things.

Meeting up offline safely

Act with caution and learn more about someone before contacting or meeting them outside of the online community (for example you may do a search of their social media- does it look genuine?  Don’t feel obliged to meet up with anyone. If you’ve met someone in our online community and plan to meet up, remember this person is still a stranger to you and your children. Please take precautions such as meeting in a public place and maybe taking a friend with you or telling friends or family where you are going and how long you plan to be out. Don’t feel pressured to share personal information or to do something or go somewhere you’re not comfortable with and avoid going to someone’s home, inviting them to yours, or accepting or giving a lift until you know them.


How we moderate

We moderate our forum and digital community during office hours, Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm. We do not moderate on bank holidays. Our moderators:

  • make sure everyone complies with the user guidelines
  • look out for anyone who’s at risk of significant harm (adult or child)
  • support conversations and signpost users to information or support if necessary

Moderators will:

  • Try to be fair. Sometimes we edit, hide or remove posts or comments that appear to break the guidelines or leave users feeling unsafe.  This doesn’t happen often and in most situations we’ll  explain why we’ve removed something and give you feedback to help you post safely.
  • Temporarily suspend, block or remove a user’s account if behaviour and/or comments are not in line with the community guidelines. This is at our own discretion.
  • Try to ensure that private messages remain private. On the forum, private messages may be viewed by moderators if there are concerns about an individual or if a report has been made.
  • Take any safeguarding concern seriously and operate within our Safeguarding Policy framework. We may contact emergency services if you tell us that you or someone else are unsafe and you give us sufficient details to identify and locate you.
  • Respond to posts that don’t explicitly break the guidelines but are extreme in nature and  may cause distress to others. We will follow our safeguarding policy and may offer support through private messages. In some cases, we may edit or remove posts or block accounts.
  • May respond to users if they haven’t received a response from others.
  • Remove spam or scam posts and messages as soon as possible.
  • Do our best to resolve any technical problems as quickly as possible.

Moderators won’t:

  • Muscle in your conversation. Our community is for single parents to chat to each other. We might post a response if a signpost to support is needed and this hasn’t been shared by other users.
  • Give advice – users can make use of our webchat or helpline instead.
  • Respond to any friend requests.
  • Pass on your details or use your information for anything else unless we have your permission. The only time we may breach this is if believe there is a safeguarding concern, where you or others may be at risk of significant harm. In this case, we reserve the right to contact relevant authorities, and in most circumstances, you will be informed that this is happening.

Report a concern or contact us

If you’re concerned about a post or someone’s behaviour, or worried about someone, please report to us as soon as possible. We deal with reports during office hours as quickly as we can.  We’ll assess whether something has broken the rules or is a safeguarding concern. We will acknowledge your report. This could take up to 5 working days.

Online forum

To report a post, use the report button at the top of the post. To report a private message, press on the user’s profile icon and then press the report button in their profile.

Local groups

Please email us with details of your concern

Digital community and groups

To report a post, press the three dots at the corner of the post, then press ‘more’. Please email us to report other concerns.

Social media

Please private message Gingerbread through the social media platform.

For other help

For help using our online services, or to delete your forum or digital group account, please email us.