Where can single parents meet for support, friendship and more?
The best piece of advice I was given when I first became a single mum was find a single parent BFF. Great, I thought. A friend who gets it, someone who knows what I’m going through without having to explain all the (amazing and horrendous) details. The only problem was how to actually find one? It’s not like we are all blessed with the knowledge of where single parents meet. Thankfully though, five years down the line, with a litany of single parent friends I can share with you some of the best places to meet single parents – all tried and tested.
Single parent support groups
Probably the most common – and obvious – place that single parents meet is at single parent support groups. Gingerbread has a network of local groups run by sole parent volunteers. If there isn’t one in your area, then you can set one up for single parents to meet. Single Parents Support is a Facebook group of peer support for sole parents, and members arrange single parents meet ups across the UK. In Wales, Single Parents Wellbeing is great for single parents meet ups. There are also groups for different ‘types’ of single parents. If your child was donor conceived the Donor Conception Network has a great network of local groups across the UK. While Widowed and Young arrange social events for those who are widowed aged 50 and under. Find the group that suits you best, and you could just find a whole group of single parent friends to share this journey with.
Single parent holidays
These are a great way to throw you together with a bunch of other single parents who are also up for travel and adventure. There’s a host of companies out there catering for all needs and interests. Be that camping holidays or a women’s holiday centre for single mums. For the more independent minded there are single parent travel groups who organise group trips around the UK and internationally. Holidaying with others is like taking the shortcut to friendship; you will quickly be able to identify your kind of people, making it the perfect place for meeting other single parents. By selecting a single parent holiday specialist such as Single Parents on Holiday, where you spend a week with other sole parents and their children, you are guaranteed that single parents meet and make friends. Not only will you be making great memories with your children, there is a good chance to make friends for life here. Now that’s a win-win if I ever heard of one.
There’s no specific sole parent festival (we can but dream though) but as all festivals attract independent, adventurous types, then you can bet your bottom dollar there will be a few sole parents amongst the crowds. Camp in the family allocated spots and keep your eyes peeled then you might just find yourself meeting single parents too.
Fellow parent apps
Keeping up with the latest parents’ app is hard. Mush is a popular one, and you can state you’re interested in meeting other single parents when you join to narrow it down. Frolo is a new app, soon to launch which is specific for single parents (mums and dads). These apps can be great for single parents meeting up with those who are geographically close, or share similar experiences e.g. raising a child with additional needs. Some of the parenting websites also have places to connect with other parents – like Mumsnet and Netmums – and you can always search out the single parents to meet up with them or just build an online network.
Play groups and parenting classes
Not specifically designed for single parents meet ups, but definitely a good place to try, are any clubs or classes aimed at kids or their parents. When your little ones are young there’s usually local baby groups / play groups you can join. As they get older there’s more clubs for the kids, but some have friendly parents on the side lines you can pal up with.
Another way for single parents to meet is at parenting classes. Local children’s centres or family charities often arrange these, and as well as being a great way to meet single parents, they can also give you invaluable tips for raising the children, too.
Parks, playgrounds and soft play centres
If there’s one thing that single parents need, it’s places to tire out their kids. Head to a park or soft play centre near you and you can almost guarantee you’ll meet single parents. If you actually want to make single parent friends though, you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled as to who looks like a likely candidate and make an effort to speak with them.
Social media is becoming more and more a part of our everyday lives. Whether you’re into Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or all of them, you will find groups and hashtags that attract other single parents. These can be great to make connections from the comfort of your own couch, and these connections can lead to single parents meeting in real life too. Try searching for single parent groups on FB, or #singleparents on Instagram, or following single parent accounts on Twitter, and before you know it you will have a single parent tribe of your own. You might find that these single parent friendships flow over into real life, too.
Single parents are often on dating sites; not just the single parent specific ones, but also all the biggies and lesser known ones too. So, if you want to have single parents meet ups of a more intimate variety, why not give it a go? If you need some tips on single parent dating then check out our guide.
Schools / nurseries
One of the big benefits of having children is that they are a link in to new friendship groups. You should be able to quickly work out which children live in single parent homes, and from there you’re just a hop, skip and a jump away from making single parent friends. Once you’ve worked out which ones are the single parents then why not suggest a single parent get together after school one day, or at the weekend when other families are doing whatever it is that couple families do at the weekend?
Most single parents work, so look around you and no doubt you’ll find others trying to balance work and raising children solo. Perhaps you could start a single parents meeting club in the office to help widen your support network?
Many single parents volunteer within their own communities. Whether that’s with other single parent groups or not, volunteering can be a great way to connect with like-minded single parents. So if you want to give back and meet single parents, why not find out about volunteering opportunities near you?
Single parent events
There might not be many, but if you search you will find. The best single parents meet events I’ve come across are run by Independent Mothers Events, but there’s no reason why you can’t start your own too!
There are almost two million single parents in the UK so single parents meeting isn’t something you can avoid even if you wanted to (though why you’d want to avoid us lot, I have no idea!). We don’t just hang out in single parent groups or designated single parent zones. We are literally everywhere. Keep your eyes peeled and your mindset open and you’ll find single parents meet everywhere, outside schools and nurseries, down the gym, in the supermarket queue – there’s really not many places you won’t meet single parents, apart from at marriage counselling sessions of course. Well, not anymore anyway!
Where’s the best place you’ve had a single parents meet moment?
Ellamental Mama is a 30-something single mum to two young boys. She writes a raw, honest and sometimes funny account of single parenting at Ellamental Mama. You can keep up with her stories by subscribing online, liking her facebook page or following her on twitter at @EllamentalMama