Next Steps Project
Posted 10 June 2022
Next Steps is an exciting new project funded by City Bridge Trust that Gingerbread is rolling out in London, until March 2025.
The project is running in Camden and Islington right now and next year we are extending to Enfield and Barnet.
Single parents in search of support often find themselves being passed around, signposted from one organisation to another, each time having to repeat their details and retell their story. Rather than the relief and support these organisations are hoping to provide, this experience can have a negative effect on single parents at a time when they are already feeling vulnerable.
In fact, we’ve heard from some parents who find themselves feeling less supported after reaching out, which in turn makes them less likely to ask for help in the future.
Going forward, our aim is to extend the Next Steps project even further, and to develop a hub for a range of partners and agencies who work with single parents – especially those with a specialism not covered by Gingerbread, or those working beyond our remit (delivering casework etc).
We hope that by creating simple, seamless referral pathways, these partnerships will offer further support to single parents in the areas where they really need it.
Informed by our research, advice workers, peer support team and our single parents advisory group, we have identified a number of areas where additional support and referrals would be most valuable to single parents. These include work and benefits, legal advice, and poverty (practical solutions such as foodbanks and baby banks) as well as mental health, domestic violence and disability.
Solace Women’s Aid
Through out helpline, we are now able to refer single parents suffering domestic and ongoing abuse to Solace Women’s Aid. Currently operating in a number of London boroughs, any single parent suffering domestic violence in Camden and Islington can now be referred directly to Solace Women’s aid, receiving a call from their team to take support further.
For more information about Solace Women’s Aid, visit their website.
We are also working with NHS Camden and Islington Recovery College to support single parents with mental health problems, or for general advice on wellbeing.
They offer free courses to anyone over 18yrs living, working and receiving care in these boroughs. With an amazing range of courses ranging from meditation, mindfulness and self compassion for parents to courses in anxiety, trauma, psychosis and much more, anyone fulfilling the criteria can enrol on their website. We are also planning to co-produce a course tailored to single parents in the near future.
For more information and to enrol, visit their website.
We believe there is a need for work coaches working with single parents to have in depth knowledge of the complex set of circumstances they face. These issues contribute to the difficulties of taking on a full time job and often leave single parents in a poverty trap while working and still claiming benefits. We are working with the DWP to explore how they can better the support single parents on Universal Credit, legacy and other benefits.
We have also held three events with our partner organisations, highlighting facts about single parents and working to remove stigma by raising awareness.
We are currently developing exciting future partnerships with food banks, baby banks, and organisations focusing on disability. We will update you soon on our exciting new partners and the work we will be doing together.