One Parent Families Scotland has seen a surge in demand for its services, as single parents struggle through the coronavirus crisis
A charity has highlighted the plight of struggling single parent families.
One Parent Families Scotland has launched an urgent appeal for donations to provide practical and financial support to single parent families who are struggling in the face of the coronavirus outbreak and social distancing measures.
Funds will be used to pay for essential items for children like food, nappies and toys, IT equipment and internet connections for school-aged children, and emergency energy grants for families faced with being unable to heat their homes or turn on their lights.
The funds raised will also help the organisation to deliver groceries and other essential items to single parent families who cannot shop for themselves in communities across Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Falkirk and North Lanarkshire.
OPFS has said that single parents and their children will be among the hardest hit by the health crisis because they were already at a higher risk of living in poverty, more likely to be in debt than other households, and more likely to lack the savings to cope with a loss of income.
The charity has seen a threefold increase in single parents getting in touch with its helpline and online chat service in the last few weeks, as parents say they are struggling both financially and emotionally with the stress of doing it all on their own under social distancing guidelines.
Chief executive of the charity, Satwat Rehman, said: “This is a worrying and uncertain time for all of us, but for some the situation is even more overwhelming. The changes in our ways of living and working which the coronavirus has made necessary are particularly isolating for single parents and their children.
“From the practical difficulties of juggling working at home or getting out to the shops for food when there’s nobody to watch the children, to the financial worries that come with a drop in wages and navigating the benefits system, to ensuring that children and young people can learn and thrive at home while schools are closed – single parent families need our support more than ever.
“This is why we’ve launched an urgent appeal to help cover some of the additional costs that struggling single parents and their children are faced with during this time. Even a small donation can make a big difference to the children and families who need your help.”
Jane, a single parent from Shettleston, said: “The lockdown has affected my children really badly. It’s not easy for me to go to the shops as I have a five-year-old and a baby.
“I really appreciate the support from One Parent Families Scotland. Just to hear a friendly adult voice and to get help with food parcels three times a week has been a lifesaver.”
Marie, a single parent in Ayrshire said: “I’ve worked since I was 18 but have lost my job and my three kids are stuck with me at home. I can’t believe how hard it is to get help. To claim Universal Credit is really difficult and they can’t say when I’ll even get a payment. It’s really desperate and how I’ll cope I really don’t know.”
During the coronavirus crisis, OPFS is operating services by phone and online, including its national helpline and its local support services in Dundee, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Glasgow and Lanarkshire. Local workers have also been delivering essential items to some families who are unable to get to the shops and are seeking to expand on this by coordinating volunteers.