A single dad who set up a social networking group for other single parents has seen the platform grow ten fold since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with the creation of a new YouTube channel.

Stephen Walker from Darwen decided to create the private Facebook group, Single Parents United in 2019, after he attended a few Meet Up events and found there were a lot of isolated single parents and not much available for them.

Along with his friend and single-dad, James Niven, of Preston, Mr Walker organised some get togethers solely for single mums and dads in the North West, and pre-Covid, the groups would go out walking together and visit places like Manchester and the Lakes.

But when lockdown hit, many of the single parents found themselves alone, unable to see their immediate families, and isolated with their children.

Lancashire Telegraph:

It was this period of isolation that saw the group expand and it now boasts a YouTube channel and has amassed more than 1,000 members, with the network branching out to single parents across the whole country, not just those based in the North West.

Group member Gareth Mayoh, also from Darwen, and whose wife Louise died two and a half years ago, said Single Parents United has been invaluable to him and so many other single parents during lockdown, as the isolation and loneliness has been very difficult to deal with.

Mr Mayoh said: "During lockdown membership to the group grew drastically.

"We are now open up to the whole of the UK as it was inundated with single parents needing help, support and encouragement throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

"Single Parents United also launched a dedicated YouTube channel a couple of months ago, that's packed with videos designed to help single parents through positivity and fun.

"It's really helped me through lockdown, as it's not like other groups. It's not a group that slags off ex-partners like a lot of single parent groups out there, it's something that promotes positivity and fun.

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"When people put their kids to bed at night, especially now, they're on their own, and it can be really hard, so we've had quizzes on Zoom, and online karaoke nights.

"And on Wednesday I'm going to be on their YouTube channel talking about bereavement.

"The important thing for me is to make people aware of the group, because there's so many people struggling, whether that's because they've lost their jobs or have money worries, or just because they're isolated from other single parents.

"It's important to have somewhere they can go to chat and support each other."

Lancashire Telegraph:

Mr Walker said when he first began researching single parent groups on Facebook he found many were negative, with people calling out their exes and being callous and cruel.

He said: "So we came up with this positive group where we encourage people to post positive things.

“Since then we've really grown and have helped so many people.

"We discuss things that can be really difficult for a parent, especially a dad, to talk to their child about, such as periods.

"It's helped people in so many ways, and now with the YouTube channel it means people can just come online and watch; they don't have to interact or anything if they don't want to, but the videos are there should they need them."

The group publish a video every Wednesday at 9pm, entitled Wellbeing Wednesday, and every Sunday at 9pm (Single Parent Sunday), on their YouTube channel Single Parents United.