BIG Scotland is to invest £7 million of Lottery money into a new scheme called Making It Work – which aims to help lone parents tackle the myriad of challenges they face in getting into the job market.
There are over 174,000 lone parents with 295,000 children in Scotland, with just below half living in income poverty. It’s clear that although many lone parents want to work, escalating competition for jobs coupled with finding childcare can mean some lone parents struggle to sustain or secure a job.
Speaking at an employability course for single parents at Rosemount Lifelong Learning, in Royston, Glasgow, Big Lottery Fund, Scotland Director Jackie Killeen said: “This £7 million in new funding will help many of Scotland’s lone parents and will put their needs, which vary from family to family, first. With Making it Work we want to see services such as education, employability and childcare coming together and joining up around individual families. This will help address gaps and create a more holistic service – and give lone parent families a better chance of a better future.”
Single mum of two Stacey Graham, 25, lives in Royston, Glasgow with her two boys five year-old Kieran and Junior 15 months-old. With a history of alcohol misuse it was after Junior was born she knew things had to change With the help of her support worker she enroled on the Rosemount course. Stacey said:
“I wanted to turn my life around. I wanted and still want to be able to do the best for him and his big brother. But it’s not so easy, juggling childcare, finding work it can be really hard.”
Having left school at 15 with no qualifications and rarely worked, Stacey has had to go back to basics to try and offer herself and her boys a better life. While Kieran, who has additional learning needs, is cared for at a local nursery Junior is looked after on site.
She told: “I can do this course – which is getting me ready to go and find a job or a college course – because there is a crèche. I get here early leave Junior with the crèche staff and I know he’s well looked after and I can get on with moving to being a better mum for him.”
One Parent Families Scotland support BIG’s holistic approach, Satwat Rehman Director, One Parent Families Scotland said: “One Parent Families Scotland welcomes Making It Work’s focus on lone parents and employability. In the current financial situation when so many lone parents are being disproportionately affected by cuts in services and are under pressure through welfare reform, this programme will offer vital support to enable lone parents to make informed choices and improve their own and their children’s life chances.”
Stacey added: “I desperately want to get into work. But I need to have affordable reliable childcare and I think that to begin with I’ll go to college and get some solid qualifications behind me. I’d like to do some part time work with the elderly, perhaps personal care, so I’m going to volunteer to get more experience.”
Stacey smiled as she listened to herself; “A year ago I couldn’t have pictured me saying any of those things or believing that I could do them but the help I’ve had here shows that with the right support was can all make the most of ourselves.”