‘Gingerbread’ was formed in London in 1970 by a single mother who found there was no support specifically for lone parents. Her start up groups gained media attention and soon Gingerbread groups were being formed all over the UK, with Gingerbread Scotland being created in 1985.
In 1987 ‘Fife Federation of Gingerbread’ was established, changing to Fife Gingerbread in 2002. The change of name also signalled the end of the connection with Gingerbread Scotland, meaning Fife Gingerbread was a completely independent and autonomous organisation supporting lone parents.
Fife Gingerbread is unique within Fife, in that it is a membership organisation. This means that members are able to have their say on matters regarding Fife Gingerbread. Members are invited to the AGM, and are given the opportunity to raise matters and vote on issues that are addressed at the event.
Since 2002 the local landscape has changed dramatically, and due to lower marriage rates and higher divorce rates, the chances of being a lone parent are higher than ever. Child poverty has risen dramatically in recent years thanks to the government’s welfare reform and severe sanctioning by Job Centre Plus, affecting not only lone parents, but families too.
Fife Gingerbread recognised the impact these changes were having on families in Fife, and adapted its approach in order to be able to support more parents and more importantly children in Fife, by widening its constitution in 2014 to include vulnerable and disadvantaged families, whilst maintaining its specialist support for lone parents.
Now employing thirty members of staff, Fife Gingerbread’s approach of engage, support, and progress is applied to partnership projects The Gateway, Making it Work and Fife Teen Parent Project. Fife Gingerbread also has a Volunteering arm which integrates volunteers into all aspects of the organisation. These volunteers are crucial to supplementing the work Fife Gingerbread does, and also offers a progression route for those we support.
In 2014, Fife Gingerbread was shortlisted for SCVO's Charity of the Year Award. Although in they end they did not win this particular prize, they managed to scoop The People's Choice Award, beating 29 other organisations in a public vote.
In October 2015, Fife Gingerbread moved its headquarters from the cosy wee Arden House Annexe, to the newly refurbished Greig Institute, occupying the top floor, whilst partners CARF are downstairs.