Category Archives: News

Northern Ireland parents increasingly worried about finances as Christmas period approaches

Over the last six months, prices have risen at so quickly that families are worried about what lies ahead in the winter months.

The annual rate of inflation is sitting at 10.1% – with the price of food rising at its fastest pace in 42 years in September.

Every household is feeling the pinch, but with Christmas just around the corner financial pressures are particularly mounting for parents.

Around two-thirds of parents in Northern Ireland say money is currently one of the greatest challenges they’re facing, closely followed by mental health.

That’s according to a recent survey published by Parenting NI which also revealed that over the last six months parents have been increasingly worried about the cost of food.

Read more: https://www.itv.com/news/utv/2022-10-21/cost-of-living-ni-parents-money-worries-as-christmas-approaches

Support Line Closures

Parenting NI Support Line will be closed on the following days/Times:

  • Thursday 15th Dec from 12.30pm – 3.30pm
  • Friday 23rd Dec from 9.30am and will stay closed until 4.30pm on Tuesday 3rd Jan

We will reopen on Wednesday 4th Jan 2023 at 9.30am.

Parent Mental Health, Wellbeing and Cost of Living survey report

Read the survey report here.

‘This is the first time Parenting NI has conducted a “Parent Mental Health, Wellbeing and Cost of Living” survey. Due to the dramatic increase in the cost of living, we felt compelled to ensure that the voice of parents is considered in what can only be described as an emergency. This survey gives parents from every part of society an opportunity to tell us about their current experiences of parenting in Northern Ireland, what levels of support they have and what gaps there are and what they need to support them on their parenting journey.

We are aware that financial insecurity can have a huge effect on a parent’s mental health. Therefore, we wanted to focus in on these issues in this survey. These issues will be familiar to service providers and policy makers across all departments and organisations. Parents have expressed a level of concern that must be met with action, and this survey has further exposed the experiences of parents and families from all backgrounds.’

                                                                                               – Charlene Brooks, CEO Parenting NI

A manifesto for change 2022-2025

Parenting NI has a vision of a society a society where parenting is valued, parents’ voices are heard and where every family is given the support they need.

The Executive and Northern Ireland Assembly need to show that they support parents and the value they bring to society. It is imperative that regional support services are adequately funded to support parents, and those in a parenting role, with children from infants to teenage years. This will ensure that outcomes for families in Northern Ireland will improve and contribute to a fair and compassionate society.

Read: A manifesto for change 2022-2025

 

Belfast area PANTS campaign launch September 2022

NSPCC, PHA and BSHCT along with a range of multi-agency partners including Parenting NI have come together to roll out the PANTS campaign across the Belfast area to empower parents and professionals to have simple age-appropriate conversations with children aged 4-8 years old to help protect them from sexual abuse.

The campaign launch was held on Wednesday 28th September with a range of campaign partners and experts helping to set the scene for the campaign which will run for the next six months across the Belfast area.

After the launch event workshops will be held to help professionals gain confidence in using the campaign resources and messages, this will be followed by activities in the community with families and children directly, where Pantosaurus, the campaigns friendly mascot will be on tour appearing at events and visiting schools as well as other settings.

So, to explain more about the PANTS campaign messaging here is some background to the campaign. We know that we are used to talking to children about things like crossing the road safely. But what about speaking to them about messages that will help to keep them safe from sexual abuse? We understand that talking about this topic might feel daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. PANTS has been created specifically, with the help of parents and professionals, to make sure these conversations are as easy and appropriate as possible for children from the age of four upwards.

The PANTS tools and resources give adults simple ways to open these conversations in a clear and child-friendly way to give children confidence and knowledge. The key messages are:

P – Privates are privates.

A – Always remember your body belongs to you.

N – No means no.

T – Talk about secrets that upset you.

S – Speak up, someone can help.

Every family is different and when and where parents or carers have these conversations will depend on their child – it’s all about whatever feels natural for them. A few examples of where parents have told us it worked for them have included bath time, getting dressed, car journeys, out for a walk or swimming.  Or, start talking PANTS with the help of our friendly dinosaur mascot Pantosaurus featured throughout our website page and materials.

There is a range of other PANTS guides for parents, carers and children, including guides in a number of different languages and for people with a disability. There are also guides for foster carers, parents with a learning disability, parents of children with autism, and a film for deaf children as well as a PANTS Makaton resource. You can find these on the NSPCC website – www.nspcc.org.uk/pants

You can find lots of information and support about talking PANTS on the website link. Or call the NSPCC helpline at any time on 0808 800 5000 for any advice, or email  help@nspcc.org.uk.  

If you would like any more information on the Belfast Area PANTS Campaign and how to get involved please contact: Margaret Gallagher, Head of Local Campaigns, NSPCC margaret.gallagher@nspcc.org.uk  

Single Parents Day

 

We are proud to be celebrating Single Parents Day on Monday 21st March 2022 and standing with Single Parents

We’ll be sharing valuable resources across all of our social media, so keep an eye out. Single Parents’ Day is a chance to raise awareness of the struggles and hardship faced by many single parents, but more than that, it is an opportunity to celebrate their incredible strength, love and resilience.

​Single Parents’ Day is a day for everyone to stand with single parents and show them how amazing they are. A day for single parents to reflect on all they have achieved and overcome, and for the world to show them how valued they are.
We’re partnering with Gingerbread, One Family Ireland and One Parent Family Scotland to celebrate Single Parents Day. Check out what they’re up to during the week too!

Don’t forget that if you’re in need of additional assistance you can always call our support line – we are here for you!

Support Line: 0808 8010 722
Available Monday – Thursday 9:30 am – 3:30 pm and Friday 9:30 – 12:30 pm

We would love to hear your personal stories to help us celebrate Single Parents Day and #StandWithSingleParents! If you would like to share your own story or that of an amazing single parent you know, get in touch!

Follow the #StandWithSingleParents #SingleParentsDay2022 hashtags to see what we get up to during the week. 

Email claref@parentingni.org to share your story

Parents report a significant drop in their mental and emotional wellbeing due to Covid19

Parenting NI are aware of a surge in need regarding mental health and wellbeing services for parents and their children, yet there was a conspicuous lack of necessary data to understand what is needed to better support parents in the region. Their recent focussed study aims to fill in these gaps in knowledge and learn from parents what they need most regarding this issue. The report from the charity encompasses views from 262 parents from across the region, gathered in a mix of interviews and online survey responses during a month-long investigative period. The report sheds a light on the heavy impact of covid on families in NI. A total of 88% of parents reported that the pandemic had affected their wellbeing. Parents also felt that the pandemic was taking a heavy toll on their children’s emotional health and wellbeing too, with 47% stating it has affected them ‘a lot’, and 24% suggesting it affected them ‘a little’. 

Interestingly, the report found that a number of parents did experience some positive effects from the pandemic, namely spending more time at home as a family, however most noted that this was relevant to the first lockdown and subsequent lockdowns had been much more challenging.

“The change of pace has been positive for our family. The extra time spent together has boosted all our mental and emotional well-being”

However, notably the experience of families during the pandemic has been largely negative. The interviews highlighted many of the unique challenges children faced:

Parents expressed a desire for more support around emotional health and wellbeing, both for themselves and for their children. When looking at the support available, the majority (53%) of families told us they were not aware of help or support available to them. Many parents felt support was too limited or did not exist and wanted improvements in this area:

“Easily accessible information to support groups and funding from government for these organisations to provide these information and support sessions”

There has been an increased number of issues experienced by parents in regards to mental health provision and intervention services. Some of the parents surveyed wanted there to be more help offered in this area. Numerous parents reported that they had experienced difficulties finding help for themselves and their families. Many families have been unaware that support exists, and due to this have struggled. Communication from statutory services was often experienced by parents as confusing or lacking detail, which led to a lack of awareness of the support available.

Signposting between organisations could be capitalised to fill a need here to better support families. 

Charlene Brooks, Parenting NI CEO warns that support for children and parents need to be made available now “A proactive approach is needed – Parents are struggling with the weight of the challenges that this pandemic has imposed upon them and their families, and they need help now.  There needs to be clear and widespread communication about the support and services that are available with services being adequately resourced to meet demands”.

Read the full report here: 

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