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23 January 2020

United Parents New Year update

Becca Harrocks UP leader
UP - group 2019

Towards the end of last year, it was decided that United Parents (UP) would continue to meet at Above Bar Church but would now sit under Southampton Family Trust (SFT).

The intention was that this would broaden UP’s reach and impact, encourage wider involvement across the city, and ultimately provide opportunities to meet with more single parents. UP is the only Christian-rooted single parents ministry in Hampshire, so its potential is really exciting.

And now there is an exciting opportunity for you to get involved with this really great and inspiring group of people and make a real difference in their lives.

Following a review of the meetings we had been having on Monday evenings over 2019, and with guidance from SFT, it was decided that for several reasons UP would probably work better in an earlier daytime slot. We are hoping that this will make the group more accessible and appealing, as coming out on cold winter nights is not very nice, especially after dark!

Therefore, from January 2020 we are now meeting on Friday mornings from 9.30am-11am in the lounge at Above Bar Church, 69 Above Bar Street. We will be meeting every week in term-time, and in March will also be running our very popular Mothers' Day pamper morning, for the fourth year running. This is a really great opportunity to be able to demonstrate love and appreciation for hardworking mums who otherwise may have no break or celebration.

Would you be free to go on the Friday morning UP rota, either as a welcomer or on the creche team? We urgently need volunteers who are willing to be DBS-checked and join the childcare rota. The change in time slot, whilst providing long-term advantages, is providing some teething issues. None of our helpers from last term can make this new time, so we are starting from scratch with our volunteer team.

All mums and dads know that getting some time to yourself is rare, but valuable. For a single parent this is even harder, and by volunteering to serve on the creche team you would, in a very practical way, be salt and light in the UP parents’ worlds. Establishing a creche is essential in order to give the parents the opportunity for a break and the chance to remember who they are, other than parents. It provides the opportunity for meaningful adult conversations, effective provision of emotional and parenting support, and it helps to combat isolation.

By volunteering in the adults’ group you would be recognising the value of the UP parents, as well as encouraging integration and building friendships with those who already are (or may want to be) a part of the Above Bar Church family. You would act as a welcomer to the church and help out in activities and group discussions as required.

God loves all of his children and Genesis tells us that he both saw (Gen 16:7, 13) and heard (Gen 21:17) Hagar. Are you seeing and hearing the single parent families in Southampton?

If you are willing to serve with UP, even if you can only commit to once every few weeks, please contact Becca on unitedparents@hotmail.com.

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