We want to improve single parents’ lives, through championing the voices and needs of single parent families and providing effective support services. Whatever success looks like to a single parent – a healthy family, a flexible job, stable finances or a chance to study – our mission is to work to make it happen.

Why is our mission to support single parent families?

Mother laughing with her young son
Photography credit Amara Eno

There are two million single parents with majority care for their kids in Britain today – that’s one in four families with children.

Single parents do a brilliant job, but paying the bills and juggling work and family life on your own can be a real challenge.

Less than half of single parents receive money from their child’s other parent, and children in single parent families are twice as likely as children in couple families to live in poverty.

The majority of single parents are working, but two-thirds of them say finances are still a constant struggle at best.

And even though there’s no such thing as a typical single parent, nearly three quarters have experienced stereotyping or prejudice.

Our vision

Our vision is of a world where diverse families can thrive.

Our mission

Our mission is to champion and enable single parent families to live secure, happy and fulfilling lives.

Our objectives

Our objectives for the next three years will help us to achieve our mission of supporting single parent families. These are our four key objectives for 2018-2021.

Stability through transition

To minimise any negative impact of life changes on wellbeing and poverty of single parents and their children.

Families can flourish

To maximise the choices and opportunities for single parents and their children to flourish.

Families are valued

To build acceptance and celebration of diverse families in wider society.

Fit for the future

Gingerbread as an organisation is sustainable and equipped to deliver what single parent families want.

Our values

We value the diversity of family life.

Trusted. We can be relied upon to deliver expert, relevant and influential work that is evidence-based. Single parent families can rely on us for support.

Resourceful. We work practically, flexibly and creatively to improve the lives of single parent families.

Enabling. We provide single parents with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to lead the lives they want.

Read our Code of Conduct.

Frequently asked questions

We understand that people become single parents for varied and complex reasons. Below you can find commonly asked questions about who Gingerbread supports, and why.

Who counts as a single parent?

A single parent is any parent with the majority care of their children. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are or the circumstances under which you became a single parent – Gingerbread can help.

We know that circumstances are not always black and white, and parents may well consider themselves single parents when they do not have majority care of their kids – we welcome you to use our online services if you see yourself as a single parent. You are likely to find, however, that our helpline and training courses are less suited to your needs.

Do you support single parents everywhere, or just in the UK?

The in-person support we offer, such as friendship groups and employment training, takes place across specific locations in England and Wales. However, our vision is to live in a society where single parents are valued and treated equally and fairly. As such, we hope our campaigning work on the stigma that affects single parent families has a wider impact across the UK.

Do you support single mums and single dads?

Yes. All of our support services, including training, advice on our helpline and our friendship groups, are open to single mums and dads who have majority care of their children.

If you see yourself as a single parent but do not have majority care of your kids – we welcome you to use our online services. You will find, however, that our helpline and training courses are less suited to your needs.

Does Gingerbread support children? Or just their parents?

We are a family charity and so our work is intended to benefit single parent families as a whole. However, our information and services are geared towards the parents themselves.

Do you offer support to non-resident parents, or just resident parents?

Our charitable aims are to support those single parents with the majority care of their children. As such, our policy and campaigning work tends to focus on issues that affect the resident parent. We are supportive of and empathetic to issues that non-resident parents face and hope that our advice and information is useful to these parents too. For any non-resident parents who are looking for more support, we are always happy to signpost to other organisations that are effectively and brilliantly championing the needs of non-resident parents.

Do you support shared care?

Yes. We believe that in the vast majority of cases, children in separated families benefit from good quality relationships with both parents after separation. Gingerbread provides information and advice to support parents to work collaboratively with their child’s other parent to make arrangements together in the best interests of their child. Our information and advice starts from the point of view that, where two parents want to be involved in the child’s life and it is safe for this to happen, it is normally in the best interests of the child.

Gingerbread was a founding member of the ‘Kids in the Middle’ coalition in 2008, along with Relate, the Fatherhood Institute and Families Need Fathers, which is committed to improve the support given to separating and post-separated parents and children to reduce conflict and improve children’s loves. In December 2013, we were awarded the Help and Support for Separated Families Mark, recognising that our services promote collaboration between parents and help them focus on the interests of their children.

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