Involving single parents in project delivery and design

7th Jul 2017
Families, children and young people
Dr Jenny Burns

Dr Jenny Burns

Associate Director (Wales)

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Single parents are twice as likely to feel stigmatised and isolated and live in poverty. This puts them at greater risk of developing mental health problems.

Creating Connections has supported over 200 single parents through self-management courses and peer support groups in Cardiff and Newport so that they don’t have to manage alone.

Single parents were involved in the design and delivery of Creating Connections at every stage

We at the Mental Health Foundation believe that this has been a key factor in the project's success, not just by engaging single parents to participate in activities themselves but also by empowering single parents to take the aims of self-management forward into the way they live their lives.

Some examples of co-production with single parents have been:

  • all the facilitators that delivered the self-management courses were or have been single parents
  • 40 single parents were involved in the programme activities, course structure and content design. They helped design a programme workbook that would also function as a personal journal that could be kept as a resource in their day-to-day lives
  • single parents volunteered as peer group leaders or event organisers and gave talks and presentations to promote the project. Their activities and events brought benefit to over 1500 single parents and their children in Cardiff and Newport
  • a group of single parents co-produced a ‘Single Parents Survival Guide’ that used their own stories to give helpful strategies and information that help meet the challenges of single parenthood, maintain good mental health and build towards a positive future

Involvement has been empowering and has built confidence and self-esteem

Ensuring single parents are fully involved in Creating Connections, from the initial project concept to the evaluation of its achievements, has meant that the project has remained engaging and dynamic. It has promoted innovation and creativity. Single parents are experts in their own experience, so they know the issues and challenges for others.

Many single parents involved in Creating Connections have gone on to achieve their personal goals, such as setting up their own business, going to university, learning to drive, and improving their physical health, to name just a few.

Creating Connections Impact Report 2014 - 2016

Read our Impact Report from this programme.
Read our Impact Report now

Related programmes

Connecting Creatively programme

Explore a similar programme we run, which aims to enhance the bond and relationship between parent and child.

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Single Parent’s Wellbeing Workshops

Our partner, Single Parent’s Wellbeing have set up ‘wellbeing workshops’, where the parents share tips and experiences with each other.

Find out more about the programme

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