“Lots of relationships broke down in Covid. Sadly, mine was one of them. Now I am a single dad to my daughter Kiara most of the time. We are close. I’ve always been a very hands-on dad from when she was first born.
But financially, it is really difficult. When my relationship broke up, I felt it was important that Kiara could stay in her family home. There had already been so much upset and instability. It meant buying my wife out of her share of our flat.
I asked my parents who live in India for help. They dug deep and, between us, we just managed it. I’m so grateful. They have been amazing but I can’t ask them again for money.
I’ve worked hard all my adult life. Now, all that feels at risk. Everything keeps going up – food, heating, childcare. I understand why After School Club has had to put the fees up but, without paying for childcare, I can’t work. I have had to take out a bank loan to pay our bills.
I don’t want Kiara to worry. Her life has already been turned upside down. I’m keeping her away from the news to try and protect her. And I certainly don’t tell her that I’m so stressed about paying our bills and keeping the family flat. None of this is her fault.
Being able to meet other children living in single parent families through Gingerbread has helped her and it has been a lifeline for me. I don’t know any other single dads at work or among my friends. I felt completely isolated and alone when my relationship first broke down.
But being connected to other single parents who know what it is like to feel like this and calling on Gingerbread’s expert advice has got me through.
This Christmas, Kiara is with me for Christmas and New Year. It will be quite different from other holidays but I’ve been researching the free things we can do locally so we can still build memories together. I still want her to have a childhood.”
Our specialist advisors are getting more calls than ever before from single parents who have never needed to ask for help before. Parents who were able to provide for themselves and their children.
But the runaway costs of basic living items mean that even previously resilient families are facing impossible choices to keep their children warm and fed.
If you can, please donate to our Christmas Appeal so we can help make sure that no single parents are alone this Christmas. For every £1 you give, it will be doubled until we reach our target of £20,000.