A voluntary organisation that provides information, advice and support to lone parents and families in Fife has appealed for “care and kindness” to be shown to lone parents who are shopping for essentials during the coronavirus crisis.
Fife Gingerbread says the guidelines on social distancing and the advice that only one person can go shopping per household has caused confusion for some who believe that children should not be allowed in stores.
Although all the major supermarkets have advised families not to go shopping together whenever possible, lone parents often have no choice but to take their children with them.
Yet several of Fife Gingerbread’s support workers have reported that families have been stopped from entering stores or have been told that their children must stand in the corner. Some vulnerable families have had abusive comments, and children have been upset from the hostility shown towards them.
Jacqui Hardie, Fife Gingerbread Executive Strategic Manager, said they wanted to remind the public that taking a child into shops during the lockdown is allowed and does comply with the restrictions everyone has to follow. All of the major supermarkets and local stores can allow children in the store with a parent if there is no alternative childcare available.
“We are proud of how our families have coped during these difficult times and we are continuing to support them in every possible way,” Jacqui said.
“We have heard so many positive stories, however we are also hearing about negative experiences some of our parents have had when going to the shops. Some of our lone parents have been openly judged and criticised by people for taking their children with them, and we feel that it is important to share the message that our lone parents should not be made to feel bad about a situation they have no control over.”
The executive manager acknowledged this was a very difficult time for everyone, no matter what their personal circumstances are.
She added: “Please remember that everyone is trying their best- and taking small children to get essential shopping under these controls- queuing, social distancing, item restrictions- is even more difficult!
“The families we care for at Fife Gingerbread have shown incredible resilience over the past month, and Fife has proved to be the caring community we always knew it to be. We should all extend that to lone parents, and everyone who has no alternative childcare options when it comes to buying essentials.
More than ever, we need to show support to our communities, and especially our vulnerable neighbours. Smiles and waves are still allowed under social distancing – let’s shop with care and shop with kindness.”