Why I support Gingerbread by Robert Peston

Posted 25 February 2018

Robert Peston is voicing our BBC Radio 4 appeal. Here’s why he is supporting Gingerbread:


Hello I’m Robert Peston. Now, I became a single parent a few years ago when my wife died of cancer. My son was only 15, it was his GCSE year, the start of it – he was traumatised, obviously I was knocked for six. He didn’t really want to go to school.

There were intense pressures, but in some ways I was lucky, because I had a very supportive extended family, close friends, a supportive employer. And myself and my boy, we battled through it.

Now not all single parents are lucky enough to have such supportive networks and that’s why Gingerbread is so important in putting them in touch with other single parents, in providing them with advice, with helping them to create little support groups in their own communities. It means that single parents who suffer tremendous stresses don’t feel alone, don’t feel isolated, and don’t feel powerless.

That’s why I am urging you to support Gingerbread.

Valentina’s story

Valentina’s story is featured in our charity radio appeal. Listen to her story here and find out more below.

Valentina left a controlling and abusive relationship when her son was only 4 months old. Her initial feelings on becoming a single parent were of shock and terror.

She was incredibly worried about the impact it would have on her son as he grew up, worried and that people would judge her for being a single mother.

During this time she also struggled with her mental health, often feeling suicidal and incredibly isolated.

After two years Valentina found the courage to contact Gingerbread and was amazed to find that there were many other single parents in similar situations.  She found out about the Gingerbread friendship groups and with support from Gingerbread she started her own.

The support from Gingerbread helped Valentina feel less ashamed as the organisation provided support for single parents which simply wasn’t available anywhere else.

Valentina was amazed that more than 15 people attended the initial meeting. With the support of Gingerbread and the new friends she made through the group she found a way out of the darkness she’d been feeling.

She  believes that the group had a major impact on the life of her son, he is now very confident and feels a real bond with the other children he meet at the group.

Valentina’s proudest achievement as a single parent has been setting up the Gingerbread group because it allowed her and her son to feel normal. She doesn’t believe this would have been possible without the invaluable support from Gingerbread and the other fantastic single parents she meet through her group.

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