One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS), the national charity which supports single parents across Scotland, has launched a fundraising appeal called #EatHeatLearnPlay in response to the cost-of-living crisis, which is disproportionately affecting single parent households and pushing children further over the poverty line.
Donations from the appeal will be used to help single parents access practical support so their children can eat healthy meals, grow up in a warm home and benefit from playing and learning opportunities that will allow them to reach their full potential.
A recent Ipsos survey of parents in Scotland found that single parents have experienced financial hardship in greater proportions than couples with children, with more than half of single parents in Scotland (58%) reporting that they had found it harder to pay their bills compared to 44% of couples with one or more children (44%).
Samantha Morrison, manager of the charity’s Advice and Information Service said:
“Single parents have always had unique pressures when it comes to finances, but the recent increasing costs of living have only deepened the divide and pushed more families over the poverty line. The helpline regularly answers enquiries about money matters, but the number of families calling us worried, anxious and desperate for help has rocketed in the last few months. Families are struggling to afford even the basics and must forgo formative experiences and “luxuries” such as days out, new clothes or access to internet and devices. Children in these families have a higher chance of missing out and falling behind their peers, through no fault of the family, leaving a number of short and long-term effects on their wellbeing.”
Carolyn, a single parent from Edinburgh, whose four-year-old son has sensory processing disorder, said:
“Part of the sensory processing disorder my son has, has been that he doesn’t feel hungry, or he doesn’t feel tired. So, we are mirroring behaviours so he can see that we’re both eating together and eating the same thing. And now he’s asking me, “Why am I not eating? Where’s my food?”. So, it’s tough because you don’t want to burden your child with the fact that it’s actually due to money. You know, it’s coming towards the end of the month and actually mummy can’t afford as much food.”
Marion Davis of OPFS said:
“Donations raised will benefit the children of single parent families accessing our support. No child should struggle because there is nothing for breakfast or no money to pay for a school uniform. However, this is the reality for too many children living with a single parent, who are amongst the hardest hit by the current cost of living crisis.
“It does not have to be this way. You can help us to turn things around for Scotland’s children. With your help, we can ensure children have a safe, warm and healthy home, helping reduce child poverty, allowing them to reach their full potential. Children need your donation now more than ever.”
To find out more and donate to the #EatHeatPlayLearn appeal, visit: opfs.org.uk.