Gingerbread: "They deserve praise, not criticism, for the brilliant achievements they make"
Footballers' Wives, Spooks and Strictly Come Dancing star Laila Rouass has helped launch a campaign to tell the 1.9 million single parents in Britain that they are "brilliant" and let them know there is practical advice and support available if they need it.
The actress is backing Gingerbread's You're Brilliant campaign, which aims to reach out to the one in four families headed by a single mum or dad and offer them the support they might need in the current economic climate.
Gingerbread supporter and single mother Laila said: "Most single parents are strong, capable people doing their best for their children - we're all likely to know someone bringing up a family alone for one reason or another, and the vast majority do a great job of it.
"As a single parent it's hard not to be affected by the negative stereotyping that still goes on.
"Sometimes everyone needs to be told they're brilliant, and I'm pleased to support Gingerbread in doing just that for single parents."
Gingerbread said many single parents had told them they were fed up with attitudes that cast them as scroungers if they did not have a job, or as bad parents.
Six out of 10 single parents managed to juggle a job with bringing up their children, and most of those on benefits were keen to work but couldn't find jobs that fitted in with school times, or couldn't find childcare, according to Gingerbread.
With single parent families set to be affected more than most groups by the Government's planned cuts, Gingerbread is urging single parents to get online or pick up the phone and get practical advice to help them make ends meet.
Fiona Weir, Gingerbread's chief executive, said: "Single parents are raising happy, healthy children and most are holding down a job too.
"They deserve praise, not criticism, for the brilliant achievements they make."
As part of the You're Brilliant campaign, Gingerbread is launching a new website providing expert help and information, including vital money-saving tips, job-search advice and support with sorting out issues around separation.
Centred around a forum for single parents, the website will enable single parents to share information and support each other.
Single parents can join up free as Gingerbread members via the website, giving them access to a range of member benefits and discounts.
Ms Weir added: "Now more than ever, single parents are facing a really difficult time because of the economic downturn.
"This is why we believe it's the right time to launch Gingerbread's new website and offer single parents the helping hand they may need."
Gingerbread works nationally and locally, for and with single parent families, to improve their lives. It aims to champion their voices and needs and providing support services.
For more information go to www.gingerbread.org.uk. The charity's Single Parent Helpline can be reached on 0808 802 0925 and is open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, with late opening on Wednesdays until 8pm.
By Emma Foster, Community Newswire