Helpline Evaluation

Published on 10 April 2019

This report summarises the learning from the evaluation of the Gingerbread Single Parent Helpline. The Helpline is part of Gingerbread’s advice and information service, and provides free and confidential support and advice on the range of issues affecting single parents. This evaluation builds upon the findings from the annual helpline impact survey and provides a unique opportunity to capture a range of experiences, unpacking the participants’ responses in detail and depth, as well as extending the research to better understand the wider impact of a Helpline call.

The Helpline

The Helpline answers around 9,000 calls a year, and the most common topics discussed are benefits and tax credits, family law, child maintenance, and housing. The Helpline offers specialist advice from experienced advisors, complex personalised benefit calculations and sign-posting to a range of local and national organisations. It is open daytime Monday-Friday, with later opening on Monday and Wednesday. 75% of calls received are from single mothers, 4% from single fathers, and a small number are family and friends, parents planning a separation, and non-resident or shared care fathers. The service is funded to deliver the following four key outcomes:

  • Single parents will report feeling better informed
  • Single parents will report having increased resilience and being better able to cope
  • Single parents will report improved financial well-being
  • Single parents will report decreased levels of isolation after using the service