A Fife lone parent charity has revealed some mums and dads have been verbally abused and families even prevented from entering stores because they have children with them.
Fife Gingerbread has spoken out amid apparent confusion over the government’s guidelines on social distancing and the advice that only one person should go shopping per household.
Although all the major supermarkets have advised families not to go shopping together whenever possible, the Glenrothes-based charity, which provides information, advice and support service to lone parents and families in need, said single parents often have no choice but to take their children with them.
Several of the organisation’s support workers have reported that families have been stopped from going into stores or have been told that their children must stand in the corner in recent weeks.
Some vulnerable families have also had abusive comments directed at them, and children have been upset from the hostility shown towards them.
Jacqui Hardie, executive strategic manager at Fife Gingerbread, said the charity was keen to remind the public that taking a child into shops during the lockdown is allowed, and does comply with the restrictions people all have to follow.
‘We are proud of how our families have coped during these difficult times and we are continuing to support them in every possible way,” she explained.
“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.
“This is a very difficult time for everyone, no matter what our personal circumstances are. So 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.”
Ms Hardie praised families for the “incredible resilience” they have shown over the past month and hopes caring and goodwill can be extended to 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,” she added.
“Smiles and waves are still allowed under social distancing – let’s shop with care, and shop with kindness.”