Forget those stereotypes, our children can do anything!

Outdoor portrait exhibition honours single parent families

Friday, 4th February — By Isabelle Stanley

pics2022feb3 Image 2022-02-04 at 00.18.29 (1)

Lana and Ruben in Pancras Square for the unveiling

THE faces of 15 parents and their children are on display in King’s Cross for a new exhibition championing single parents.

The boards in Pancras Square were unveiled by Camden Mayor Sabrina Francis on Thursday.

She is using her year as the borough’s first citizen to highlight the work of the Gingerbread charity, which organised the photos and stories,

Her own mother, Jacinta, is one of the stories on the boards.

“I wanted to show there’s nothing to be ashamed of in being a single parent family,” Cllr Francis said.

“Being the mayor is pretty cool and I’ve done that as a child from a single parent family. We can do anything.”

Camden Mayor Sabrina Francis with a portrait of her mother, Jacinta

Many of the displays discuss the issues single parents face, managing day-to-day childcare, loneliness and legal disputes. But mostly, they challenge the negative stereotypes around single parent families.

One woman who took part, Lana, was diagnosed with postpartum depression after giving birth to her son Ruben. She was placed in a mum and baby unit.

She said: “I felt ashamed when I first saw the board and then I thought, no, there shouldn’t be anything to be ashamed of. So, I’ve made the choice to be vulnerable.”
Although 90 per cent of the parents supported by Gingerbread are women, there are some men.

Vikas has a 10-year-old daughter, his board says: “I know a lot of single dads and unfortunately a lot of them are not having a good time. The community does exist and we have our own struggles and we have our own challenges.”

Gingerbread has been based in Kentish Town for 50 years, organising and running a helpline for anyone who needs advice.

Camden group leader, Ema Howling said: “We help with housing, signposting people to services, advice on court cases. We have over 100 members so usually there is someone who has been through it to help.”

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