Single parent and Gingerbread helpline adviser Jenny on why your donation matters

Posted 6 August 2021

Our expert helpline adviser and single parent, Jenny, on why your donation matters this summer

My name is Jenny and I’ve been working on the helpline for almost two years. As well as being a helpline adviser, I’m single parent to my nine-year-old daughter (who thinks she is closer to 15!) and we have a very energetic puppy called Monty.

As a helpline adviser, I take calls and advise single parents on a huge range of issues, from child maintenance to unsuitable housing and everything in between. Throughout the pandemic, it’s been really important for me and my colleagues to keep up with all of the changes in legislation and guidance to ensure we’re providing legally accurate advice. This has been no mean feat! There’ve been hundreds of changes in areas that we advise on, including the eviction ban, suspension and re-introduction of the minimum income floor for self-employed single parents on Universal Credit, as well as the constantly changing rules on support and childcare bubbles.

Keeping on top of the continual changes while parenting and home schooling has been… interesting, to say the least! However, I’m in a fortunate position to work for an organisation that understands the need for flexibility for single parents – many of my callers don’t have this same privilege.

Now the summer holidays have started, I’ve seen an increase in callers who are struggling to find affordable childcare to enable them to continue to work. Their employers are not willing to offer more flexibility so they can juggle childcare and their work commitments. We know that affordable childcare is hard to find but this issue has been exacerbated by the pandemic, with restrictions on number of children in each setting (due to social distancing) and childcare providers struggling to stay in business.

Many single parents are just about managing but the end to the furlough scheme and the £20 Universal Credit uplift is likely to tip many single parents over the edge.

The Gingerbread helpline can be a lifeline to single parents in crisis, not aware of their rights or entitlements to benefits – it would be great to be able to answer every call that comes through but sadly, at the moment, we just don’t have the capacity to do so. By donating to our summer appeal you could support our helpline and webchat services to answer more calls and support the almost one-in-four families headed by a single parent.