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Support to Lone Parents

DF is a single parent with a teenage child, who is in receipt of Department of Working Pensions (DWP) Jobseekers Allowance (JSA). DF regularly uses the service provided by the Fife Council’s Community Job Club to carry out the job searching activity expected as a condition of receiving DWP JSA.

During a conversation with a Community Job Club Welfare Support Worker (WSW), DF expressed concern at the pressure being applied by the Job Centre Work Coach who was making assertions that DF’s teenage child was now capable of being at home unsupervised. DF felt the conversation was very negative and feared this could result in a benefits sanction.

Fife Council Community Job Club Welfare Support Workers network with other support providers in and around the local community, and use this knowledge to signpost and refer job club participants to get the most relevant support to overcoming the barriers being faced by that particular individual. The WSW in this conversation with DF was aware of Fife Gingerbread’s Making It Work For Lone Parents project.

The WSW was confident DF met the Making It Work criteria, and therefore introduced Making It Work to DF explaining they are well placed to work 1:1 with lone parents and suggested that having Gingerbread involvement may be viewed positively by the Job Centre Work Coach and help to relieve the pressure being applied by the Work Coach’s unhelpful assumptions about DF’s family situation.

As a result of the initial WSW referral, Gingerbread contacted DF to arrange an appointment for a home visit by a general support worker. DF now has an assigned employability support worker who keeps in regular contact. DF’s involvement with Gingerbread has subsequently lead to DF being recommended to take part in Link Living’s Better for Work course which runs two days per week for a period of nine weeks.

WSW noted DF’s enthusiasm on the build up to starting the Better For Work course and now looks forward to DF providing regular updates about the course activities, along with general observations and experience of attending this type of course. DF who has previously expressed an interest in using lived experience to give support to those who have similar experiences of being a lone parent.  Now, as a result of attending this course DF has an opportunity to realise the potential of getting involved with the future delivery of this course as a mentor.

“It’s positive to have the job club to go to as supported place to go to for help when work coaches are applying pressure which can cause stress. I agree with feeling less anxious and no longer go to the Job Centre expecting to be sanctioned. By going to Better for Work I now have a chance to become involved with mentoring and showing people on future course that if I can do it so can they. I’ve been told I have a chance to get supported through qualifications and get a PVG”.