Making a difference to the lives of single parent families in Glasgow
Single parent families supported by One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS) Glasgow are achieving greater and more sustainable outcomes for themselves and their children than with other services. This is according to a new report launching at Glasgow City Chambers on Friday 13th October.
‘Making the Difference’, an evaluation of OPFS Glasgow services undertaken by independent consultant, Colin Duff, is based on interviews with staff involved with delivering and managing OPFS Glasgow services, focus groups with single parents, meetings with Glasgow City Council staff and desk-based research.
The report describes how OPFS Glasgow’s unique model of service delivery, which covers the entire Glasgow City Council area, is designed around the specific needs of single parent families and is supporting them to achieve faster and more sustainable improvements to their emotional and financial wellbeing.Download Making the Difference report
The range of services available to single parents at OPFS Glasgow includes:
- Support with family wellbeing, parenting advice and support for young parents.
- Counselling for parents experiencing low mood.
- Income maximisation, welfare benefits, debt and money advice.
- Support to take up training or education or move into paid work
- Opportunities to work with OPFS staff and Glasgow City Council to codesign and co-produce new and improved services for single parent families in Glasgow.
1 in 4 families in Scotland are headed by single parents, and some neighbourhoods in Glasgow have disproportionately higher numbers of single parent households in comparison to the national average. The Glasgow Indicators Project reports that children in single parent families are twice as likely to be living in relative poverty than children in couple families (41% compared to 24%). The Project also reports that Glasgow has one of the lowest single parent employment rates among local authorities in Scotland (50%).
The evaluation shows that, because of OPFS support, some parents have gone on to employment and increased their income by between £230 and £19,187 a year. It also shows that, following support to claim what they were entitled to, single parents were able to achieve an average increase in income of £4,990.
- Bolanie, single parent supported by OPFS Glasgow,
One single parent who was interviewed as part of the research said:
“When I came to OPFS Glasgow, it was as if they were interested in me. They didn’t rush me. They didn’t even immediately ask what I wanted. They just listened and they seemed to mean it. I’m not used to that. I’m used to feeling like a nuisance or to people just demanding I do something better than I can do it.”
Bolanie, another single parent supported by OPFS Glasgow said:
“OPFS is an organisation I trust and can depend on when it comes to human understanding. They are always one step ahead of me in terms of what I need. Some of the experiences I had with other organisations have been so frustrating and demeaning. I’ve felt the services offered by OPFS have bridged a gap in support.
“As an asylum seeker, I don’t have access to public funds. OPFS helped me to receive charitable and crisis grants, and I was signposted to other organisations, such as the Scottish Refugee Council.
What makes OPFS different to other organisations is they take an interest in you as a person. Today I’m still going through a lot of documentation, but I’m now at college, I’ve got a job with the NHS and I’m doing well.”
- Satwat Rehman, OPFS Chief Executive
Satwat Rehman, OPFS Chief Executive said:
“Single parents have to balance the roles of sole care giver and main breadwinner for their children. They do not benefit from the mutual support of another adult. The demands of childcare also mean that opportunities for employment and training are limited.
“OPFS works across Scotland, providing targeted support in 5 different local authority areas.
“For almost every single parent, the reason for coming to OPFS Glasgow for support is financial. They are often at the end of their tether, having already sought support from other agencies where they have felt rushed and been made to feel a burden.
“Parents can be helped to deal with any immediate crisis, for example by a referral to a food bank, by the provision of an emergency grant or through advocacy. However, once the immediate crisis is over, our primary aim is to make a sustained difference to the lives, aspirations, and wellbeing of single parent families.
“Single parents are met by a caring and compassionate staff team, offered a financial health check, and linked to our family wellbeing and employability programmes and drop-in services. By forming an ongoing relationship with the parents, our workers help to move them from recurring crisis and short-term problem solving to building confidence and maximsing income, thereby reducing the risk of them falling back into poverty.”
- Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council
Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said:
“It’s clear that One Parent Families Scotland has consistently improved the lives of families and this report delivers the evidence of the impact of the invaluable support and advice it provides. Lone parents face many significant barriers that impact on their experience of poverty, not least being the sole provider and most often relying on a single source of income. This means the depth and scale of that poverty for lone parents is far greater.
“Glasgow has a large number of single parent households, families which we know are all too often disproportionately impacted by poverty and social and economic challenges. We know, for example, that in this city alone almost 16,000 children living in poverty are in one parent families. And that two thirds of children in lone parent families are living in persistent or deep poverty. Recent work by the City Council into the scale of child poverty across Glasgow identifies lone parent families living on an average of £113 below the poverty line and less than they were in 2020.
“This work shows the extent of the challenges facing far too many in our communities but also the importance of the work of OPFS in addressing that. Addressing child poverty remains a key priority for Glasgow City Council and working in partnership with our colleagues at OPFS we can continue to improve the lives and financial well-being of thousands of families across our city.”