Prospects for single parents in Lewisham and Southwark are set to improve with the start of an ambitious £200,000 support plan by housing association L&Q working with partners, including leading single parent charity Gingerbread.
There around 2 million single parent families in the UK. While two-thirds are in work, they often face considerable barriers to employment – including lack of access to affordable childcare, which can reduce their work opportunities and increase the risk of poverty.
L&Q is working with Gingerbread to kick-start a wide-reaching project to help single parents overcome these challenges. The work is being supported by a £200,000 grant from the L&Q Foundation.
The programme will provide support such as upskilling and mentoring, but underpinning the whole project is the aim to develop access to good quality affordable childcare and build awareness to make informed choices. As a forum for single parents, it will also increase social inclusion, and improve wellbeing.
In the first instance parents will be signposted to a Gingerbread helpline and information resources. In addition, they will be offered intensive support sessions based on need, with topics ranging from access to childcare to skills and financial awareness including better off in work sessions.
The Empowering You project will be piloted in areas around London where L&Q has properties, but the team intends to expand the scheme more widely, with the hope that other housing associations will take part.
Anyone who would like more information should email [email protected] or call 0207 428 5405.
Matthew Corbett, Assistant Director Community Investment for L&Q said: “We are delighted to be able to announce that this major provision is now underway. The majority of our residents are women and many of these are single mothers. This project will help thousands of our single parent residents to make better informed choices about childcare resulting in more of them entering and sustaining long term employment.
We know there are many obstacles to single parents going to work. Through this scheme we hope to not only release untapped earning power, but also help the parents attain their real potential. This will not only help them in their personal goals but will enable them to attain the aspirations they have for their families.”
Rosie Ferguson, Chief Executive of Gingerbread said: “We are delighted to be working with the L&Q Foundation, who share our passion for tackling the obstacles that single parents often face. Our new partnership will support with childcare and help with employment opportunities – two key issues for single parents in the UK.”