Ema has run our north London support group for single parent families ever since her son Haze was three months old. He is eight now and she has been connecting and supporting single parents throughout that time. Hearing first-hand about the challenges they face, signposting to local sources of help and creating a sense of solidarity through meetups. She even organises a Christmas party arranging donations from local firms so that the children in her group, “All have a gift, even if their parent is struggling.”
But Ema is finding it difficult to manage the cost of living crisis for herself and Haze. During Covid, she delivered food parcels from her local food bank to families. But as prices rose, her part-time work changed and her childcare increased, she found herself as a foodbank user and desperate to find warm, free places where she and Haze can spend time. Anything, so that they don’t have to turn their heating on.
She told us:
“Having volunteered for food banks during Covid and then finding myself using one made me very conscious of our financial vulnerability. Since the summer I have been paying as much as possible towards paying for our heating in the winter. Haze and I can go to our local library after school and to museums and galleries at the weekends. Anything we can do to minimise the time we spend at home.
By running the north London Gingerbread group, I get to hear first-hand about the things that are worrying single parents in my community. It is, increasingly, money. The difficulties in being able to pay for the basics and things like a school uniform.
Most of the people in my group did not choose to be a single parent. They are going through the brutal experience of their relationship breaking up while unexpectedly finding themselves bringing up their children on their own. To do that while the costs of all the basic essentials of life are spiralling out of control is terrifying.
Some of our members are facing impossible situations. One single mum lost her house recently and had to be rehoused with her children. Haze has asked me if that might happen to us.
When you are solely responsible for bringing up your child then all the financial and emotional impacts of raising your family are yours. I would be lost without the solidarity of my Gingerbread group.”
If you can, please give a gift to ensure no single parent is alone this winter.
Donate to GIngerbread