As schools and nurseries across the country close in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, many single parents will be worried about the challenges ahead and the impact on their families. Gingerbread is calling on the government and employers to consider the circumstances of single parents and support them in this time of crisis.
Victoria Benson, Gingerbread CEO, said:
“Gingerbread is very aware that many single parents are extremely worried about the impact of the coronavirus on them and their families. We have seen a big increase in the number of single parents seeking support through our helpline and our online forum, along with a spike in membership to Gingerbread friendship groups in the past week alone. The wide-reaching impact of the coronavirus pandemic will have a disproportionate effect on single parents. We already know that many single parents rely on income from insecure work and we also know that they are far more likely to be facing poverty than couple parent families. The impact on their finances from the virus could be devastating if they can no longer work or lose their jobs. In addition, they are likely to be feeling isolated and overwhelmed by the worry this is causing.
“School closures across the country for the majority of students will lead to additional worry and stress, as it means that single parents who are able to work from home will be faced with looking after their children on their own and, unlike couple parents, they won’t be able to juggle care with a partner to enable them to work. Gingerbread is calling on employers to consider the circumstances of single parents and to ensure that they are paid while the school closures are in force.
“We are calling on the Government to support single parents who cannot work, or those who have lost their jobs and to ensure that claims for benefits are processed swiftly so they are not left without any income. We would also like to see all work seeking requirements and sanctions lifted.
“It is also important to remember that single parents are likely to be feeling isolated, alone, and overwhelmed – particularly while we are all being advised to take social distancing measures. We would like to call on everyone to be mindful of this and to offer to help any single parents in their networks. This may be offering to help with shopping or just picking up the phone to check in.
“Gingerbread’s helpline is also available to offer specific advice and guidance and our single parent online forum is active 24/7 with other single parents in similar situations.”
Gingerbread has prepared a key set of recommendations for government and employers that will ensure single parent families are supported at this time. To read our full recommendations click here.