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Thousands of lone parent families suffering isolation throughout Norfolk are being thrown a lifeline with the launch of a new dynamic Gingerbread group for Norwich and Norfolk. 

With nearly 17,000 lone parent families in the region, it is often difficult for lone parents to meet and for their children to play together and share experiences. 

“Bringing up children on your own with the everyday responsibility resting on one set of shoulders can be very stressful” said Julie Briggs, chairperson of Norwich and Norfolk Gingerbread.  “And when you are going through the most responsible period of your life, you can find yourself very isolated with nobody to share ideas, vent anxieties or even share your child’s new and exciting developments with.  Gingerbread aims to provide company, fun activities, support and advice to lone parent families all over Norfolk.” 

Members of Gingerbread Norwich and Norfolk will benefit from weekly meetings at Cloverhill Community Centre in Bowthorpe with toys and crafts for toddlers, games and music for young children and pool, table tennis, drinks and snacks for teenagers.  Parents can make new friends, enjoy company and support each other. 

There will also be organised trips to family events every month throughout the year, access to free financial and legal advice and parents’ evenings. 

The new branch of Gingerbread has been set up by volunteers Jenny Blade from Caister, Julie Briggs from Hethersett, and Louise Watts from Norwich – all are lone parents who were motivated through isolation. 

Jenny Blade, Branch Treasurer and mother-of-two, said:  “We would urge all lone parents to become members and take advantage of all the offers through the year.  The more members we have the more we can offer. There is nothing to lose and only friendship and support to gain. “ 

Annual membership costs £5.  For further details call Julie on 01603 810609 or come along to the launch opening day at Cloverhill Community Centre on July 5 between 2pm and 4pm.  All lone parents will be very welcome. 

Notes to editors:  For more information or media interviews with lone parents contact Julie Briggs on 07753 822 050

  Male Lone Parents Female Lone Parents All Lone Parent Households with dependent children
Great Yarmouth 267 2,113 2,380
Norwich 283 3,370 3,653
Breckland 308 1,959 2,267
Broadland 244 1,741 1.985
North Norfolk 241 1,546 1,787
South Norfolk 230 1,517 1.747
King's Lynn and West Norfolk 353 2,519 2,872
TOTALS 1,926 14,765 16,691

Statistics from National Statistics (last data update 2001).