The Gingerbread Single Parent Helpline provides support and expert advice on anything from dealing with a break-up to going back to work or sorting out child maintenance, benefit or tax credit issues. Our friendly advisers will talk through your options and send you useful information. Your call is free and confidential.
The helpline number is 0808 802 0925.
Intermittent connectivity problems
Last updated: 1pm, Tuesday 3 December
Following our office move, please be aware that we are experiencing intermittent technical issues with the Gingerbread Helpline. It’s still possible to get through, but your call may be cut-off unexpectedly or you may experience poor sound quality.
We’re working on resolving these issues as soon as possible, and apologise if your call is affected. In the meantime, you may wish to view our information pages which offer general advice and guidance on a range of topics.
Changes to Helpline Opening Hours
Wednesday 18th December: The Helpline will be open only from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. There will be no evening advice session (usually between 5 and 7pm). The helpline will re-open as usual on Thursday 19th December at 10:00 am.
Christmas and New Year period: The Helpline will be closed for the Christmas and New Year period from Tuesday 24th December at 1:00 pm, until Thursday 2nd January at 10:00 am.
Before you call
Check if your question can be answered by any of our online information. This information – available on a range of subjects and regularly checked and updated by advice professionals – might give you the answer you need more quickly. Demand for the helpline is high and so callers often have to wait to speak to an adviser – the average waiting time is around 20 minutes.
When can I call the helpline?
- Mondays: 10am to 6pm
- Tuesdays/Thursdays/Fridays: 10am to 4pm
- Wednesdays: 10am-1pm and 5pm-7pm
- The helpline is closed on all public holidays.
Bear in mind that the busiest times of the day tend to be morning, so sometimes calling in the afternoon can help.
Who is the helpline for?
Our helpline advisers are trained to advise the parent with the main or equal care of the child. We can also support those who may become a single parent and those ringing on behalf of a single parent. Parents who don’t live with their children can look at our information for guidance and for signposting to other charities who can provide support.
How can I prepare for my call?
Calls usually take around 20 minutes, so make sure you have the time to take a call this long. We’ve found that there can be a lot of issues covered in a call, so it is a good idea to have a pen and paper to hand, as well as any documents you wish to discuss. Finally, it’s best to be in a quiet place so you can speak to the adviser without worrying about background noise.
Will anyone know I've called?
Our helpline is confidential, which means we will not share your information with anyone outside of the organisation without your permission. We have a page that describes our confidentiality and quality commitments in more detail.
What topics can I call about?
Our advisers are all trained to speak about any issues which may impact a single parent, so there’s no single topic we cover. However, some common examples of topics people call us about are child maintenance, contact, employment, education, welfare benefits and tax credits, housing, and debt.
Will I be charged for calling?
Your call is completely free, including from mobile phones. We cannot guarantee that calls made from outside the UK will be free.
Is the helpline for everyone in the UK?
Our advice service covers England and Wales. If you live in Scotland, please contact One Parent Families Scotland on 0808 8010323. If you live in Northern Ireland, and would like information about benefits or tax, please contact ‘advice NI’ via their website www.adviceni.net or their helpline 0808 802 0020. For general parenting enquiries in Northern Ireland, please contact Parenting NI on 0808 8010 722.
What if English isn’t my first language?
If you do not speak English as a first language, we can call you back with an interpreter. Phone the helpline and tell the adviser which language you need and provide your phone number. We will aim to arrange a call with an interpreter on the line the same working day. All calls will be from a withheld (private) number. We will not leave a message without your permission.
What if I am deaf or speech impaired?
Deaf and speech impaired callers can access the Gingerbread helpline via the NGT Text relay service. Text users can prefix their call with 18002.
Please note it is our policy not to take calls from people who are driving as it’s not safe, this includes calls using a ‘hands-free’ device.
Callers are welcome to pull over to continue the call if they wish or call back another time when they are not driving.