Single parents in Bedfordshire inundate charities for advice during coronavirus lockdown

'How can I work from home and look after my children at the same time?'

By Clare Turner
Tuesday, 24th March 2020, 1:08 pm
Updated Tuesday, 24th March 2020, 1:08 pm

Charities are being inundated with calls from single parents across Bedfordshire in desperate need of help because of the coronavirus pandemic.

With schools closed, homes in lockdown and job insecurity rife, experts are warning these families will be hit hard by the outbreak.

There are around 1.8million lone parents across the UK - and 6,123 in Central Beds and 4,409 in Bedford.

'How can I work from home and look after my children at the same time?'

The Government has pledged to support the most vulnerable households.

But many are asking: 'How can you work from home and look after your children at the same time?'

The charity Gingerbread helps single mothers and fathers across England and Wales.

Its chief executive, Victoria Benson, said it has seen an influx of calls from anxious parents in response to the outbreak.

Victoria Benson, Gingerbread's chief executive

She said: “Our helplines for the local groups have been overwhelmed with single parents asking, what do they do, as well as practical questions about isolation and lots of financial issues, as well as lots of issues about maintenance and issues with the non-resident parent.”

And with schools across the country now closed indefinitely, Benson said she was very concerned that single parents will have to juggle multiple roles within households.

She added: “We’re all expected to look after our children from home but most single parents can’t work from home. Even if you are paid to work from home, how can you work from home and do your job and look after your children at the same time?”

Despite an initial period of confusion, the Government has clarified that children under 18 with separated parents can continue to visit both parents throughout the lockdown.

Last week Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a raft of measures to support businesses and low income families, including an increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance and Working Tax Credits.

He said: “Together these measures will benefit over four million of our most vulnerable households.”

For more information from Gingerbread, visit here.