Posted 20 February 2020
Single parent Ria is going to be our champion fundraiser for the 2020 London Marathon! In most recent blog for us, she discusses her training regime and balancing priorities. You can read her first Single...
Posted 19 March 2019
Aneita is a mum to a five year-old daughter. She works part-time as an administrator and lives in London. In her latest blog, she describes the ways Gingerbread has helped her as a single parent.
In 2016, my financial situation changed dramatically when I changed jobs. I thought everything would be okay. I had checked and double checked to make sure but I was not prepared for what happened: my tax credits were stopped.
“You have had your year’s entitlement,” I was told.
I was suddenly plunged into a financial nightmare, not knowing how I was going to pay my bills, feed myself and my daughter, or buy the things my daughter needed such as clothes and shoes.
I would sit alone in the evening with questions flowing through my head and then search the internet for answers. I needed a solution. I needed to know where I could begin to end this. It was during this time I came across the Gingerbread website. There was a wealth of information in front of me including people going through the same things, so I started to get a plan together. I contacted a local adviser, I was helped to sort my finances, and I was referred to a foodbank. I was grateful but I felt so sad.
I remember sitting in a room with my daughter as we waited to be given a food parcel, holding back my tears, not wanting my daughter to see me upset and thinking, ‘How? Why has it got to this?’ Walking home that night with a trolley of food, I felt like a failure, but I also felt for whatever reason this was meant to happen and I would get us out of this, I had to get us out of this. I admit I was scared, I was embarrassed. I did not want to burden my family/friends.
I was going to get us out of this.
A couple of months down the line, we were getting by – struggling but we were keeping afloat. It was a start to climbing back up.
I signed up as a Gingerbread member as I wanted to keep up-to-date with the news and campaigns because most of the issues highlighted on the website related to me and my situation, and gave me hope.
I did a couple of telephone interviews: one was about giving single parents a one-year break from bills if their financial situation changed. This I strongly agreed with because in my situation, I was advised to do a DRO (Debt Relief Order) which, given the choice now, I would not have done because of the after-effects it has on your credit file. I was under so much stress at the time that I now feel I made a bad decision but that is something I must live with and correct as time goes on.
In 2018, I went back to working full-time but I was feeling unfulfilled. I decided that 2019 needed to be different. My skills and experience needed to take on a new meaning, so in December, I started a new part-time job. This freed up some time to pursue other interests and other opportunities. Gingerbread has ignited a passion for me that I have not felt for such a long time.
I received a membership email which asked for single parent stories. I thought, ‘I will give this a go’ and my blog was published. Since then, I have signed up as a spokesperson, been invited to a Single Parent Event at Parliament and I have joined a support/meet up group of friendly single parents. I am now about to launch a meet up/support group myself as there is not one in my local area.
Gingerbread staff are amazing. They have helped me by giving me a voice, giving me the feeling of not being alone, and by working so hard to rid the stigma of single parenthood. I have been given the opportunity to share but also to give back – my reason for what was meant to happen.
Have Gingerbread’s services made an impact on your life? Email us to share your story: email@example.com