A few years ago, I moved to a new town after leaving a toxic relationship. I arrived as a first-time Mum on my own with my eldest son who was only ten months old at the time. I didn’t know a single person in the area when I first moved so I felt really isolated and lonely. My Mum lives an hour’s drive away so I didn’t have anyone nearby to turn to for support.
Thankfully I found out about Family Action’s local children’s centre. It turned out having a child really helped me put myself out there and meet people! The children’s centre runs lots of activities like sessions for parents to come along and play with their kids, which helped me get to know other local families whilst the kids could socialise and have fun. I don’t know what I would have done without the Family Action children’s centre or how I would have managed to build a support network.
I also attended different parenting courses, including one on nutrition and healthy eating for my young child which gave me lots of useful tips like recipe ideas. Another course helped me move on from my previous relationship and learn about healthy relationships. When I was pregnant with my second son I went through a really difficult time, going through court proceedings with my ex-partner. Family Action’s Support Workers were really helpful in supporting me emotionally through everything.
Family Action also helped me find out about opportunities in the area. I started going along to the local parent forum that offers free activities and advice for families. Through this I began volunteering with the group, organising activities for local families like a sports day. I find it really rewarding putting something back into the community and it’s been another good way to meet new people.
I find Christmas a difficult time emotionally. When you’re a single parent you try to overcompensate because you’re comparing to what your ex can offer the children. Family Action organise an annual Christmas party for all the families at the children’s centre, which means I can give the kids a nice memory together as a family. It’s great that the children’s centre has activities on over the holidays, otherwise it’s hard to find stuff to do with the kids as everything is so expensive. This year I’m really glad we’ll be able to go to the Christmas party again because I can’t spend Christmas Day with the kids as they’ll be at their Dad’s. Thanks to Family Action we can celebrate Christmas together before they go away.
*The name has been changed to protect anonymity.