For a young, single or impoverished mum, life can sometimes feel all but impossible. Motherhood is a challenge at the best of times, but what if you have all the regular broken nights and worries, and are also constantly struggling to manage food and rent on a complicated benefits system? What if you’re feeling depressed, but are scared that, if you ask for help, Social Services will declare you unfit and take away your children? What if you’re going crazy with isolation in the house all day, but don’t have family nearby and can’t afford to take the kids anywhere? It’s hard to be a good mother when you’re physically and emotionally exhausted, and mothers know it – but to get out of those slumps, everyone needs a little help.
This is where the Hub comes in.
At Young Mums Support Network, we meet mothers where they’re at, speaking their language and providing understanding without judgement. Our founder, Fiona Small (We Are The City: Inspirational Woman 2014), set up YMSN inspired by her own experiences as a single mum. Her team include Sarah Capel, a working mum and professional designer who runs a popular class for mums, and Kit Whitfield, writer, administrator, and mother of a special-needs child. Together, they provide a free, safe and supportive space where mums can come for help, from people who speak their language and share their issues.
We have recently partnered up with Griffin Primary School in Wandsworth, who granted us the use of a small house on their estate. We call it the Hub, and from here, we run courses to help young mums with basic skills, such as:
cooking a healthy meal on a budget,
managing a busy home
getting back into employment
creating and selling your own products from home
In a high-stress environment, where access to local services can be both confusing and intimidating, and where family and community support has broken down, the Hub is a place where mums can build their self-confidence, gain new skills, and feel better able to meet the demands of their lives. It has been truly inspiring to watch our ladies start designing their own goods, confide in us and accept gentle support to seek counselling, or come in talking about their futures with resignation and dread, and leave full of enthusiasm and hope.
To help equip our new space effectively, we are launching a crowdfunding campaign with the RSA and Spacehive to raise £20,000. With the money, we can:
create an office to upgrade our administrative capability,
provide training for staff and volunteers
run more courses to support young mothers, including a sewing club and
develop the garden so that we can form a gardening club.
You get involved in the project by contributing to the Spacehive campaign, or your own expertise. If you can help or would like to know more, please contact Fiona at [email protected].
You can find more of Fiona's work here:
- BBC article: 10 tips for mums returning to work
- BBC Radio 5 Live #mumtakeover article: Life As A Single Mum
- BBC Radio 5 Live guest for Nicky Cambell Breakfast Show: Boys Need Their Fathers
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