Across the UK, approximately 25% of children are being raised in single parent families, also called lone parent families or one parent families. Whether you are now, or are about to become a single parent, there is a wealth of information, services and support available for you. Read on for a brief introduction of single parent families in the UK!
A Vibrant, Diverse Community
Single parents across the UK have become so for many different reasons. Single parent families are now a vibrant, diverse community including parents who:
- Have suffered the death of a partner.
- Have separated or divorced from a partner.
- Were abandoned by a partner.
- Chose to adopt a child as a single parent.
- Chose to utilize IVF as a road to single parenthood.
- Sought a surrogate as a road to single parenthood.
- Chose to carry an unexpected pregnancy to term.
Fighting Single Parent Stereotypes
Despite the vibrancy of the single parent community in the UK, many single parents still find that others hold a certain stereotype of them. Characteristics of this single parent typically include:
- Clamouring for benefits
This stereotype is offensive to most single parents, and requires much energy to explode. Finding other single parents for support is a great way to gain the energy and motivation to fight this stereotype.
A number of organisations exist across the UK to give advice, support, information and friendship to single parent families, check out the Internet to find groups near you.
Most communities also have local support groups or social groups for single parents. Activities often include:
- Coffee groups
- Support meetings
- Movie nights
- Activities and field trips for single parent families
- Single parent “mixers”
Some schools, churches and community centres also offer activities or support groups for children of single parents. If you child would like to participate, attend the first meeting with him/her to make sure you are comfortable with the set-up and ethos of the group.
Single Parent Family Benefits
Depending on circumstances, a number of benefits for exist for single parents who qualify. Investigate whether you could receive:
- Lone Parent Run On
- Working Families Tax Credit
- Children’s Tax Credit
- Council Tax Benefit
- New Deal for Loan Parents – a voluntary programme operated through Employment Service job centres for lone parents who want to work.
The Single Family Niche Market
With the growing population of single parent families in the UK, many retailers have recognised this niche market and rushed to respond to particular single parent concerns. Goods and services now aimed at single parents include:
- Dating services
- Travel agents and tours
- Children’s books, such as:
- Do I Have A Daddy? – Jeanne Warren Lindsay
- Here’s the Thing About Me – Katy Kelly
- Fancesca and the Magic Bike – Cynthia Nugent
- Young adult books, such as:
- In the Shallow End – Hannah Cole
- Going to Egypt – Helen Dunmore
- The Moonlight Man – Paula Fox
- The Postbox Mystery – Robert Swindells
With the number of single parent families in the UK growing every year, this community has become vibrant and diverse. Share you single parent pride today!