Information for Practitioners

Date last updated: 2 December 2019

This page is an introduction to using Gingerbread’s advice and information service if you work with single parents in a professional capacity.

Gingerbread’s advice and information service is divided into our information pages and our helpline, which is available to both single parents and practitioners like yourselves.

We also support a wide community of local Gingerbread groups across England and Wales and maintain an online community for single parents through our online forum, blogs, and newsletters. You can find out more detail about all of these below.

If you are interested in receiving regular updates on our latest information tools for helping single parents, please sign up for our practitioner’s newsletter using the form at the bottom of the page.

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Using our information pages

Our information pages contain detailed advice on a wide range of practical issues, including benefits and tax creditschildcareseparationworkhousing and child maintenance. These pages are written with single parents as an intended audience, but may also prove useful to you as a practitioner as they contain a high amount of detail and signposting to other relevant organisations for further help.

If you work with younger single parents, we have an online toolkit for helping you provide the best support.

Interactive Tools

Many single parents use the Turn2Us benefit calculator on our site to help them work out what benefits they are entitled to and how much they may receive. We also have a benefit finder tool for young single parents, for whom the rules can be different. These tools require a detailed knowledge of a single parents situation to use accurately, so it is more likely you would assist them in using the tool then filling it in yourself. Single parents can also contact our helpline for a detailed benefit calculation.

Some of our information pages also contain ‘chatbots’ to help a single parent find out what information relates specifically to them. These chatbots will pop up on relevant pages to guide a single parent through a series of questions to provide them with tailored information. If you know a reasonable amount of detail about a single parent’s situation, you may be able to go through this process on their behalf, or you could assist them in answering the questions.

Single parent helpline

The Gingerbread Single Parent Helpline provides expert advice on practical issues a single parent may experience, from dealing with a break-up to going back to work or sorting out child maintenance. We commonly answer benefits and tax credits queries and can help single parent calculate what they are entitled to. Calls are free and confidential.

The helpline number is 0808 802 0925. You can find our opening times and details of how to prepare for your call on our helpline page. It is important to note that our helpline is often very busy and wait times can sometimes be quite long, but if you stay on the line we will get to you as soon as we can.

As our helpline is primarily for providing practical advice, we recommend referring single parents requiring emotional support to Family Lives or the Samaritans, or to our information pages on single parent wellbeing.

Who can call?

Our helpline advisers are trained to advise the parent with the main or equal care of the child. Our page ‘If you don’t live with your children’ is intended as an introduction to our information pages for single parents who do not have main or equal care.

We can also advise those who may become a single parent, for example someone who is pregnant or a parent who is considering separating from their partner. We can also support you as a practitioner ringing on behalf of a single parent.

Single parent community

We offer single parents a number of ways to connect and share their experiences. You may wish to refer single parents you work with to these services if they are looking for peer support.

Membership

Becoming a Gingerbread member means that single parents receive monthly newsletters from us with helpful information and updates on important events they can take part in. Being a member also enables single parents to join our local groups and make posts on our online forum.

Local groups

Gingerbread single parent groups are there to provide a space to meet other people who understand what it’s like to be a single parent. You can search for local groups using a postcode or location.

Online community

The Gingerbread online forum is a safe place for single parents to connect 24/7 – to chat, and give and receive support.

Single parent experiences

Our website is full of blogs and videos featuring single parents who have been through all kinds of experiences. It can be extremely helpful for single parents to know that other people have been through similar situations to themselves and to receive advice from other single parents.

We have collected a range of tips and advice written by single parents for single parents. These tips feature on our information pages, but you can also browse the entire tips section by category.

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