‘Gingerbread gave me a light at the end of the tunnel’

Posted 12 December 2023

Single mum Hayley turned to Gingerbread for advice after leaving an abusive relationship. She explains why the information and resources on our website are a lifeline for people in her situation:

‘At the time I was too scared to phone the advice line. After what I’d been through with domestic abuse it was hard to reach out even though I wanted to.’

Moving on after domestic abuse and dealing with the family court meant that Hayley needed to know how the system worked. A friend recommended Gingerbread’s website.  Hayley found that exploring our information pages was a good place to start because she could work through it at her own pace:

‘It was helpful for me that the information was just there, so I could just click on it on the website. All the information about going to court was really helpful.’

Gradually Hayley began to join in conversations on Gingerbread’s digital forum too. ‘I talked to a couple of other single parents on the chat forum. And when I felt comfortable I was able to say I’ve experienced that too, this is my story.’

Becoming a single parent can be stressful. So Gingerbread’s website provides a detailed information library covering single parents’ most common worries – everything from dealing with separation and arranging child maintenance, to looking for work, training and childcare. All the information is regularly checked and updated by Gingerbread’s advice team. They’re our frontline experts, answering  over 7,000 calls a year to our helpline, running our busy webchat service and making sure our online information is up-to-date for the many people like Hayley who need our support but for whatever reason aren’t ready to pick up the phone.

Single but not alone

Finding the information she needed and hearing from other people who had similar experiences helped Hayley to take the next steps she needed.

‘My relationship had broken down and I was feeling low. To find a place with so much information, to realise there was a way out, it was like the light at the end of the tunnel for me.  It kick-started my recovery.’

Hayley and her son now have their own flat, and she’s enjoying her new job. ‘I finally feel like it’s a new positive chapter for us both!’ she says.

With your help we can be there for more single-parent families this Christmas:

The difference your donation could make*

  • £18 could help train a friendship group volunteer to provide support.
  • £27 could help keep our free helpline running for one hour.
  • £36 could help pay for emergency support items, such as nappies, SIM cards and food vouchers.

*These are examples of our services. Your donation will be used where the need is greatest.

Help us be there for more single parents like Hayley this winter