Press: Single parents support each other with money advice
Press Release: 02 September 2015
Glasgow MP, Chris Stephens, visits single parent ‘Champions’ training session in Pollok
Chris Stephens, MP for Glasgow South West, is today visiting a training session to enable single parents to support other single parents with the challenges of changing benefits and other money worries. The session, run by the charity One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS), updated 14 single parent volunteers who have themselves faced these types of problems in the past, with the latest information on the Government’s welfare reforms and the summer Budget.
Every year One Parent Families Scotland receives thousands of queries through its telephone helpline and at its local support projects from single parents facing financial difficulties. The volunteers, known as Lone Parent Champions, go through intensive training to qualify them to advise their peers on issues such as welfare reform, budgeting, benefits, how to avoid sanctions, tax credits, and the financial implications of going back to work or into further education. They also direct single parents to our expert Financial Inclusion team or to other organisations for help if required.
The Lone Parent Champions support single parents in their local communities across all areas of Glasgow either on a one-to-one basis in their homes, or in group sessions. They also act as peer mentors, for example going with the single parent to appointments at their local Job Centre Plus.
Chris Stephens MP said,
“I’m delighted to see more and more people become empowered to help their communities and those most in need. Sadly, the attacks on the welfare state we’ve seen over recent years make services like this more and more necessary, but the work done by these 14 champions, and the team at One Parent Families Scotland is helping hundreds of families make sure they get the benefits and services they are entitled to. My thanks and congratulations to everyone involved.”
Marion Davis, who heads up OPFS’s Glasgow operations, said,
“With four out of 10 children in one parent families living in poverty, money, or the lack of it, becomes a daily problem for many. Even putting food on the table or paying a gas bill can be a challenge. Our Lone Parent Champions have experienced these problems themselves and, combined with their training, are more than qualified to provide vital advice to other single parents.”
Emma Hanlon, a Lone Parent Champion, said,
“I have experienced money problems in the past and I know how worrying it can be, causing anxiety and sleepless nights. There have been so many changes to welfare rights recently – and there are many more to come – so my role as a volunteer Lone Parent Champion has never been so vital. I also get a lot of satisfaction from helping parents who are in a similar situation to myself a few years ago.”
Mr Stephens handed out certificates to the 14 ‘Champions’ at their training session in Pollok and chatted with them about their work.
The Lone Parent Champions have contributed to the Poverty Leadership Panel of Glasgow City Council and given evidence at the Scottish Parliament on the effects of Welfare Reform.
Single parents in the Glasgow area in need of welfare benefits and money advice should contact OPFS free Lone Parent Helpline on 0808 801 323.
Notes to Editors
- In Scotland there are 170,000 single parents looking after 291,000 children – one in four families.
- The majority have just one child.
- The average (median) age of single parents is 38.
- Fewer than 2% are teenagers.
- 8% of single parents are fathers and the numbers are increasing.
- 65% are in work and the overwhelming majority of the rest want to work.
Established in 1944, One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS) is a national charity dedicated to supporting Scotland’s single parents and their children.
OPFS offers a free telephone helpline and information service to single parents. It also runs community based projects in Aberdeenshire, Dundee, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Glasgow and North & South Lanarkshire. These include flexible childcare services, single fathers’ support, teen parent services, supporting parents return to work, family support, and advice for parents and their children.
For further information please contact:
Tel: 07849 425661
One Parent Families Scotland
13 Gayfield Square, Edinburgh, EH1 3NX