Helping single parents take their Next Steps in Camden and Islington.

Posted 6 March 2024

Gingerbread is working with Jobcentre Plus in Camden and Islington to support single parents with their job search and issues affecting their lives.

Next Steps is a Gingerbread project funded by City Bridge Foundation. It’s all about developing new ways of working in partnership with other organisations, to provide services that really meet single parents’ needs.

Gingerbread’s advice development officer Mimmi has been working with borough partnership managers at Jobcentre Plus over the last year.  Together they’ve identified some of the distinct challenges that single parents face when looking for work.

Developing new resources

‘We know that single parents are extremely short of time – even more so than parents in couples,’ says Mimmi. ‘Day to day family life doesn’t leave much time for researching job opportunities, training and childcare online, so single parents don’t always know what options are out there.’

To tackle this, we’ve developed a landing page on Gingerbread’s website aimed specifically at single parents claiming Universal Credit. The landing page introduces Gingerbread’s services, and brings together some key information and resources for single parents looking for work. Work coaches can share this landing page with single parents through their online work journal – which is the main way people on Universal Credit keep in touch with their work coach.

The partnership managers were keen to reach single parents still on legacy benefits and develop resources for them too. The online work journal route isn’t available to this group, so we’ve produced a flyer with a QR code.

On February 8th, Mimmi attended Kentish Town Jobcentre Plus to meet with a group of local single parents and lone-parent job coaches. After a short presentation about Gingerbread and our services, Mimmi handed out some flyers, and single parents were able to explore the resources on Gingerbread’s website.

Some people attending the session were already familiar with Gingerbread through our social media posts. For others, it was a chance to hear about our work for the first time and to find a valuable source of support and information. Visiting the JobCentre in person was a great opportunity for us to let single parents know that we’re here for them, and also for us to get a full picture of the challenges facing single parents.

‘Gingerbread’s first single parents group formed in Kentish Town, and it’s also where our office is based, so it was great to get out and meet single parents in the area,’ says Mimmi.

‘Kentish Town is also a very multicultural area. Face to face meetings like this can help us get over language and literacy barriers, and get to know single parents in person.’

We’d like to say a big thank you to the work coaches at Kentish Town Jobcentre Plus who facilitated the session with such enthusiasm. We’re also very grateful to City Bridge Foundation who have generously funded this project enabling us to develop new ways of supporting single parents.

Mimmi will be attending another session with single parents looking for work at Finsbury Park Jobcentre later this month. We’re looking forward to our next opportunity to connect in person with single parents and supporting them moving into employment.