Lifeline service for single parents in Glasgow refused council grant



Single parents in Glasgow have received the devastating news that One Parent Families Scotland’s (OPFS) flagship local service faces a 100% cut in core funding from Glasgow City Council.

An e-mail to the charity arrived on Friday explaining that funding will cease in September in light of recommendations made on the distribution of the council’s Glasgow Communities Fund.

Distressed parents who rely on support from the service to keep their head above water have been in touch with OPFS asking if the services will be cut. Now, the organisation is urging parents and supporters to contact local councillors to ask them to push for the cuts to be rejected.

OPFS has been supporting single parent families in communities across Glasgow for 14 years to take up employment, maximise their income and reduce their living costs.

Four in ten families in Glasgow are single parent families, the highest rate in Scotland. Children living in a single parent family are twice as likely to be living in poverty and OPFS says the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown has increased poverty, anxiety and distress.

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One Parent Families Scotland has produced a briefing paper outlining: our contribution to meeting the aims of the Glasgow Communities Fund, including tackling child poverty; our strategic and policy input in Glasgow; and how the loss in funding will impact on our services and, most importantly, the parents we support.

Download Download the briefing
The pandemic is creating a unique challenge for single parents and their children. To weather the worst and rebuild, we need a community-minded approach, tailored to single parents’ needs. We, and the parents we work with, are dismayed that now, when families need it most, our vital services face drastic cuts.

- Satwat Rehman, Chief Executive of One Parent Families Scotland

Read more

Read the Scottish Government’s annex on single parent families and child poverty as part of its progress report on tackling child poverty last month. Single parent families are one of the six priority groups for tackling child poverty.

See our COVID-19 Single Parent Family Impact Monitoring Reports.

Read the briefings we contributed to on single parent families, child poverty and the impact of COVID-19 published by Public Health Scotland in August.

Over the last 6 months, OPFS Glasgow has extended a range of support to 1,423 single parent families and made financial gains for those families in excess of £582K. This includes:

  • Delivering  4,949 lunch packs and food parcels, food vouchers and essentials to 1,260 children and babies during lockdown worth £40,000.
  • Giving benefits and debt advice to 372 single parent families putting almost £500,000 into families’ income.
  • Assisting 837 families with energy costs amounting to £41,614 for families who couldn’t afford the cost of heating their home or cooking.
  • Giving crisis support to ensure the health and wellbeing of 833 parents and 1,333 children.
  • Giving 590 single parents advice and information on issues such as child maintenance, separating from your partner and child contact and residence issues.

Chief Executive of OPFS Satwat Rehman said: “The COVID-19 pandemic is still creating a unique challenge for single parents and their children, as they depend on one income and don’t have the support of another adult in the home to share childcare and parenting responsibilities. We believe the expertise and experience of our community-based services will be vital in the recovery effort that lies ahead.

“In the hardest of times, our service in Glasgow has risen to the challenges thrown at us and involved parents in all our work. To weather the worst and rebuild, we need this kind of community-minded approach which is tailored to single parents’ particular needs. We, and the parents we work with, are dismayed that now, when families need it most, our vital Glasgow services face drastic cuts.”

Single parents and their children in the local areas of Maryhill, Canal, Pollok, Cranhill, Tollcross, Govan, Shettleston, Knightswood, Possil Park, Easterhouse, Bridgeton and Denniston have received vital support from One Parent Families Scotland, now at risk due the recommended funding cut.

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OPFS is calling on Glasgow City Council’s City Administration Committee to reject the recommendation to withdraw this vital funding when it meets this Thursday (3 September).

The charity is urging single parents and supporters to contact their local councillors to express their concerns and make sure people know how much these services are relied upon by families who will bear the brunt of this 100% cut in funding. You can find your local councillor in Glasgow by entering your postcode at the link here.