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Helping lone parents

Published: 18 Feb 2016 11:00

£212,000 support for advice project.

A national helpline which is providing lone parents with advice on childcare, benefits and managing money, will receive £212,000 funding this year.

The Scottish Government's investment will support One Parent Families Scotland's (OPFS) Lone Parent Helpline, money and welfare rights advice services and provide training in issues around child maintenance changes.

Since April 2015 the helpline has dealt with 2,883 enquiries with over 4,000 calls expected to be received by the end of March 2016.

The £212,000 for OPFS is part of the £2.5 million package of support for advice services confirmed in the 2016-17 draft budget.

Welfare Minister Margaret Burgess announced details of the funding on a visit to the OPFS Families' House in Dundee. The project offers flexible childcare to families in the area as well as outreach crèches and family support, benefits and money advice to single parents.

She said:

"Single parents are among the hardest hit by the UK Government's continued austerity agenda, with household budgets under increasing pressure. Making sure lone parents are aware of the child maintenance and benefits they are entitled to is crucial.

"Our £2.5 million funding for advice services like One Parent Families Scotland is mitigating the impact of UK Government cuts by helping single mothers and fathers manage their bills and giving them advice on childcare.

"The OPFS helpline is making it even easier for parents to get the help they need and preventing more families from being pushed into poverty as a result of the UK Government's welfare reforms."

Satwat Rehman, Director of OPFS said:

"We very much welcome Scottish Government funding for our unique Lone Parent Helpline which provides specialist online information, freephone advice and training for practitioners across Scotland. Single Parents have told our advisors that they are worried about benefit sanctions, debt, home repossession, redundancy and the impact of austerity on the lives of their children.

"We never underestimate the value and importance of a listening ear. Our Advisors are the person at the end of the phone who is empathetic and understanding. Our motto is: "Information and emotional support go hand in hand."

Notes to editors

More information about One Parent Families Scotland's Lone Parent Helpline is available at: http://www.opfs.org.uk/service/lone-parent-helpline/

Families' House is the largest of four community based service delivery sites for OPFS services in Dundee. Family support and flexible childcare services are delivered and administered from this premises with additional support, information and advice also being delivered in other areas minimising barriers to parents engaging with services by taking them into community settings.