One Parent Families Scotland welcomes £100k in funding to help families amid coronavirus
One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS) welcomes £100,000 in much-needed funding from the Scottish Government to help support single parents and their children who are under increased strain due to the coronavirus crisis.
In the last few weeks, OPFS has experienced a 300% rise in demand on its phoneline and webchat as a result of the pandemic and the impact it has had on children and parents lives. There has also been a 50% increase in traffic to the website as parents seek advice and information on dealing with the crisis.
The funding from the Scottish Government forms part of an £8m investment in support services working with people most at risk from the wider impacts of the pandemic. This will allow OPFS to provide support to more single parent families during this difficult time via our national advice and information services including webchat and helpline, and develop online support and information for single parents.
One of the issues many single parent families are facing is digital exclusion and part of the funding received will be to support families to get online. This will be vital at this time when more and more services are going digital.
- Satwat Rehman, Director of One Parent Families Scotland
Director of OPFS Satwat Rehman commented: “We are delighted to be one of the organisations receiving funding from the Scottish Government to expand and adapt our support services to meet the needs of single parents during this unprecedented circumstance.
“One in four families in Scotland are single parent families who were already facing the harshest impacts of austerity and rising levels of poverty. Some 70 per cent of single parents work in what have typically been deemed ‘unskilled’ and low-value jobs, but which are now ‘essential’ to the response to this crisis.
“Now, with the changes in our ways of living and working which the coronavirus has made necessary, single parents and their children are among those at the greatest risk of being adversely impacted.
“From juggling working at home with the children, to rent arrears, to claiming Universal Credit, to not having enough money to buy what’s left in the shops, or not being able to secure a home delivery and having nobody to watch the children – this is a tough time for single parents and managing these stresses alone is particularly difficult.
“This is why we need to ensure that these families have the support they need. This funding will allow us to provide one-to-one support and make sure that the many questions and concerns single parents are now faced with can be answered by our expert advisers.”
In addition to the national helpline, OPFS has five local service teams – in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Falkirk, Lanarkshire and Dundee. Staff who usually support families face-to-face now be helping via text, email and Skype, and taking helpline calls to meet increased demand. OPFS is also developing a database of all the services available in each of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas so that advisers have quick access to local information.
Announcing the funding, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government Aileen Campbell MSP said: “We are facing an unprecedented situation that requires a practical response – at scale and pace – to help people most at risk in our community. We must do all that we can to protect the health, welfare and wellbeing of the people of Scotland.
“These significant national investments are helping to strengthen the support available to individuals and ensuring that key services are available for those most in need. We are continuing to work with partners, including community organisations to ensure funding reaches those best placed to provide support.”