News & Blogs
One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS), Scotland’s national single parent charity, receives thousands of enquiries each year. Many of these were from parents whose relationships have ended for lots of different reasons and who are looking for help to decide what to do.
OPFS answers the questions single parents commonly ask when they get in touch in the guide for separation and divorce. It gives information and advice for single parents in Scotland who are separating, or have separated, from their partner, husband, wife or civil partner.
Alice MacAlister, Advice Worker said:
’We get calls to the helpline from parents whose relationships have ended for lots of different reasons and they can all get help to decide what to do next.’’
If you’re looking for ways to save energy and money then you’ve come to the right place. One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS) has received funding support from the Big Energy Saving Network to support single parent families by helping to prevent, and providing solutions to, issues with fuel within the family home along with raising awareness of simple steps to becoming more energy efficient within your household.
We work in partnership with the Home Energy Scotland Hotline from the Scottish Government; it’s your one stop shop for free and impartial energy saving advice and support. Have a chat with a friendly advisor over the phone by calling OPFS on 0141 847 0444 and visit Greener Scotland for lots of ideas and tips. We could help you save up to £250 a year on your energy bills.
Single Parents who helped co-design Scotland’s new early years benefits met First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today in Glasgow. The first Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payments will be made before Christmas.
The payment will see eligible applicants receive £600 for their first child, £100 more than the DWP Sure Start Maternity Grant it replaces. Best Start also provides £300 for all subsequent children – meaning there is no cap on the number of children it supports, unlike the current UK Government equivalent.
Ms Sturgeon met ten parents who contributed to the design of the application process and helped make sure it was accessible and easy to understand.
FM Nicola Sturgeon said:
“The new Best Start Grant provides much needed help for families on low income on the birth of children. £600 for the first child really does help with all the essentials that new parents need on the birth of a baby. It’s providing really important help and I’m delighted that it’s now underway and parents across the country start to benefit from it. For parents on low income this makes a crucial difference. It gives the money they need to provide the essentials they need for a new baby. Also, it’s about making sure that every child gets a good start in life, and an equal start in life, I think that’s the important principal as well as the practical support that is provided being important as well.”
Satwat Rehman CEO of One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS) warmly welcomed the introduction of the new payment.
“OPFS has supported parents to play a key role in helping design the new best start grant, ensuring that the reduction of child poverty is one of the guiding principles. The fact that payments are in place before Christmas will be a life-line to some of our most hard-pressed families”
In addition to the Pregnancy and Baby Payment, by summer 2019 two additional early years payments will be introduced. The first £250 payment will be made around the time a child starts nursery, to help with the costs of early learning and a further £250 when they start school.
Connie is 25 and lives in Glasgow; her baby is five months old.
“I heard about the Pregnancy and Baby Payment through OPFS, who told me all about the grant and how to apply for it,” she said.
The payment will go toward clothes, nappies and shoes for my son, babies grow so quickly and he’s five months now.
This will make a real difference to me, it’s not a payment I was expecting. It will make life a bit easier, my income stays the same, but my outgoings are higher as this is my third child. My other children are four and five so the things I had for them I don’t have anymore, so I’m kind of starting again.”
The Poverty and Inequality Commission has published its advice today for the Scottish Government on addressing poverty during school holidays.
OPFS provides opportunities to families to take part in trips and activities where costs for food and participation would otherwise be a barrier.
As costs are covered this allows the children and families to take part without fear of stigma and worry about financial implications for involvement.
Appeal launched to ensure every child in a single parent family in Scotland has a happy Christmas.
One of Scotland’s favourite comediennes, Elaine C Smith, has again backed the One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS) “12 Weans of Christmas” appeal following its success last year. Main aim is to ensure children in single parent families have toys, food and warm clothing over the Christmas period.
Elaine C Smith said: “No child should have to go without on Christmas. Sadly, some children won’t get any presents from ‘Santa’ because their family is facing a difficult time, that’s why I’m again supporting this important appeal to try and help. I know the campaign has been an incredible success and people have already been very generous, I encourage those who are able to contribute this year to get in touch with OPFS. To think that some children wake up on Christmas Day without a gift or a proper meal in 2018 is unthinkable. We want to change that and make a difference.”
A response from OPFS on published statistics for the first six months of Fair Start Scotland.
Scotland’s new devolved employment service, Fair Start Scotland, has helped almost 5,000 people move towards employment since it began earlier this year. The latest research by Scottish Government provides statistics for the first six months of the programme. However, Scotland’s national organisation for single parents says the new scheme doesn’t track single parent outcomes in Fair Start – participation in which is an important route out of poverty. One Parent Families Scotland also point out this is a gender issue as 93% of single parents are women.
The roll-out of Universal Credit (UC) has been criticised by charities and campaigners over five-week delays for payments. New benefit claimants in Glasgow will need to wait till January for payments. Although advance payments are available these must be paid back once benefits are received.
Marion Davis, head of policy for OPFS, said: “Delays in payments, administrative errors and problems with childcare payment for parents in paid work have left some families almost destitute.
“Hunger, anxiety, shame – the UC catastrophe is hitting single parents hardest of all. We know some single mothers are facing a grim Christmas.”
The UC system was severely criticised by the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Prof. Philip Alston, during his recent UK visit. He had called on the UK Government to halt the delays to payment immediately.
The newly released Joseph Rowntree Foundation Poverty 2018 report found poverty among one parent families is rising four times as much as two parent households. It found nearly half of children in lone-parent families live in poverty (49%) compared with one in four of those in couple families (25%).
Satwat Rehman, Director OPFS, said: “The research in the JRF report ties in with our own findings about the ‘Single-Parent Penalty’ and sadly comes as no surprise. Poverty restricts people’s lives in multiple ways and single parent families are disproportionately affected with almost twice as many of the children living in poverty compared with those in couple families.
We need to turn compassion into action. We need to put this situation right so that single parent families have a decent standard of living that allows them to grow and progress in their lives. Poverty exists in Scotland and affects us all, it restricts people’s ability to take part in society, and it can be solved by boosting incomes and reducing costs of living.”
The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, the membership body for housing associations and co-operatives in Scotland, has welcomed OPFS as its newest ‘Supporting Associate’. Our Flexible Childcare Services Scotland (FCSS) service works with Abertay Housing Association to provide childcare services specifically designed to meet the needs of the community in the Fintry area of Dundee.
See full story at SFHA website.