Creating Connections: supporting single parents in Southeast Wales

25 June 2015

“Confident, driven more awareness, motivated.  I feel as though I am capable of doing something more worthwhile and I am an active part of the community.”

On Thursday 25 June, at an event hosted by Julie Morgan AM in the Welsh Assembly, two major national charities - the Mental Health Foundation and Gingerbread - will mark the successful launch of the Creating Connections programme for single parents in Southeast Wales. 

With funding from the Big Lottery Fund, Creating Connections was set up last year to help single parents in South East Wales achieve their goals and develop a positive sense of the future. Since the project's launch in September 2014, over 100 single parents have received help which has led some to set up a business, others applying to university, and some getting a job.

The project works by creating networks of small groups of single parents who are able to share their experiences, supported and facilitated by trainers who themselves have been single parents and are familiar with the issues facing those in that situation.

Jenny Edwards CBE, CEO of the Mental Health Foundation said,

“This support is so important to the wellbeing of families and to provide parents and their children with a good and confident start. Research shows that single mothers are 40% more likely to experience depression compared to married mothers due to stress and a lack of social support. In Cardiff and Newport just under one third of households with dependent children are headed by a single parent. The average age of single parents is 38, with only 2% being teenagers, contrary to popular myth.  It is time to focus attention and support on these families.”

Comments from participants include:

"I have met people I may not have met in normal day to day situations and have learnt new skills from them.”

“Confident, driven more awareness, motivated.  I feel as though I am capable of doing something more worthwhile and I am an active part of the community.”

"I found it very helpful on learning to put plans into action, and I enjoyed the mutual support.”

To date Peer Support Groups have been established in both Cardiff and Newport and they are working on developing resources to help other single parents including an information leaflet to go out to GP practices, libraries and community groups; developing a skills exchange; and setting up local advice hubs. The funding from the Big Lottery Fund will ensure that the project goes onto help many more single parents in the South East Wales area.