THROUGHOUT the school year, media outlets have been filing headlines about the concern over growing costs of childcare, which is putting an extra strain on families across the country.

One Cumbrian-based organisation – Inspira – is trying to help by offering a free service that looks at longer-term employment solutions.

In the UK there are around two million single parents, which, as a group, make up nearly a quarter of all families with dependent children. More than 67 per cent of single parents are in work, but the number of children living in single-parent families who live in relative poverty, is almost double, compared to the risk of relative poverty children in two parent families face.

Single parents are more likely to be, and get stuck in, low-paid work than other workers; there is a lack of jobs that offer flexible working which can mean single parents often take part-time work, which is often low-paid, to balance work and family life; and the growing cost of local childcare – which can also be inflexible when juggling the demands of work.

Gingerbread, a charity dedicated to giving a voice to single parents, estimates that by 2021, two thirds of children in single parent families will be in poverty.

Barriers and challenges to enter, or re-enter work are generally more difficult for single parents than two-parent families, particularly those without extended family support. However, with some flexibility from employers, childcare providers, and learning and training organisations, these challenges can be eased, and barriers slowly removed.

Flexibility can mean online learning, job share, remote working, flexi-hours, and onsite childcare facilities. Having access to good-quality career guidance and impartial advice is also invaluable for the single parent.

Inspira knows the local labour market, understands, and can advise on training options to get back into work, or progress within a current career, and are aware of live vacancies.

Realising that access to a centre, or venue, for advice and guidance can be difficult for lone parents, Inspira is introducing flexible career sessions over skype, which will be easily bookable through a phone call, email or Facebook messenger @Inspiraforlife. 

In our modern, digital age, being able to find flexible options to help people succeed in life and work should be a given., and Inspira’s friendly advisers can help.

Simply fill out the form here, or get in touch by phone - 0345 658 8647, or on Facebook.