Single Parents United, based all throughout Lancashire and the surrounding areas, are wanting to recruit new members from Salford and Greater Manchester.
The group was founded over two years ago by Ste Walker and James Niven, the old school friends are both single parents.
“I’ve been a single parent for five years, me and James would meet up at the weekends with our kids and it was then that we decided we wanted to help other people.” Ste said.
The page can offer support and encourage others in a similar situation through posts, meet ups and even zoom meetings.
Louise Kirby, a single mum of four, is now an admin of the group yet she joined in her hour of need.
“When I joined, I was really newly single, I felt so alone like I was half the person I used to be, doing everything solo was really challenging,” Louise said.
Louise remembers the one morning she decided to search on Facebook, ‘Lonely Single Parents’ and found the Single Parents United group.
“That was the first step to me feeling like I’m not alone, I’m not weak, I can do this because other people are doing this. I felt empowered and included,”
Louise admitted: “Ste and James don’t realised how many people they’ve helped”.
The main aim is to prevent isolation and help single parents make new friends, the Facebook page allows them to be entered into an already existing community of other single parents.
The Single Parents United page has 1.1k members on Facebook and is filled with posts such as motivational quotes, members asking for advice or looking for a moral boost, and meet up plans to provide company for one another or purely just for fun.
Ste explained: “Because we have been waiting to come out of lockdown, we’ve only just started doing events again, we have put adverts out in Salford because we want to recruit Bolton, Salford and Greater Manchester because we don’t feel they’re aware of us, its a bigger population and we feel we can help them,”
“But it’s more than just meet ups, there’s a lot of single parents who can’t do meet-ups for a number of factors, some just want to go online and relate to posts or jump on a zoom, they’re very popular and seem to help build the confidence of single parents to then possibly come to a meetup” Ste continued.
Louise remembers the friendly welcoming feeling of her first meet-up: “As alone as you feel, you’re actually not alone, you’re with all these other single parents.”
A few months ago the Single Parents United team celebrated one of the children’s birthdays with an amazing turn out, everyone brought an item of food, had cake and played rounders with the children.
“It’s a community, it’s more than just a Facebook group,” Ste added.
Louise, in her role as an admin is to vet the membership profiles engage with members to make sure everyone is welcomed and supported.
“The stories, like Louise’s, is what attracts the single parents, a majority is women and it’s better to listen to a story from a single mum who has come in vulnerable and come away feeling stronger,” Ste explained, whilst mentioning the value of having female admins for some women who approach the group but are cautious.
There is also a Single Friends page, not for dating but for friendship and the events are open to either group but single friends is where the zooms are very popular; last year they held zoom meetings everyday throughout the Christmas period for those who find that tine of year difficult.
Single people who don’t have children rarely have their own place to access support and make new friends, numerous members from the parents group are also involved.
“Some parents want to come away from Single Parents and just have Single Friends, they want to feel like an individual for a bit, it’s good to have the best of both worlds.” Louise said.
Some members are active but prefer to scroll through the relatable posts rather than comment which is completely fine, there is also the option to post anonymously on both pages.
Single Parents United are trying to engage people to try and have a meet up at Clifton Park in the near future.