Volunteering with Gingerbread – Group Coordinator Judith’s story

Posted 3 June 2021

My name is Judith and I’m a single parent to two teenagers who are soon to be 17 and 14. I’ve been a single parent for 10 years. During that time, their dad has stopped seeing them.

I set up my Leicester Gingerbread Group about two years ago as there wasn’t one in place at the time. I’m passionate about reducing isolation among single parents and, after chatting with friends who were also single parents, I felt the need for there to be support in the Leicester area.

I’m sometimes made to feel that my family is dysfunctional by those close to me. Being in this group has made me see that families come in all shapes and sizes. My family is just fine as it is.

It’s hard doing everything myself – but I do try and get my children to help me cook and clean. Support from the group has helped me through some difficult times and given me great support in good times, too: I live with Bipolar Disorder and I run a female comedy night (Tickled Pink All Star).

I’ve enjoyed meeting and welcoming new people to the group. We share our stories of being single parents (if we want to. It can help us to feel less isolated). We meet at a local country park in Leicestershire: it’s a great place for people to bring their children to play and have a chat themselves.

During the autumn and winter of 2019, we met as a group at my home every week, each bringing nibbles, I served warm drinks and we chatted away – it was great fun!

Setting up our Leicester Group was made straightforward, with the support of the Gingerbread Peer Support team. I’d definitely recommend setting up a group if there isn’t one in your area. You can decide with your group how often to meet up and there’s good support from your Peer Support Worker and fellow group coordinators if you need any help or advice with how to proceed.