“Everyone can be open, rather than hidden”
Building skills, confidence and wellbeing, the Bassuah Legacy Foundation has created a compassionate community to help single parents thrive.
“I was a single parent for 30 years – I know how it feels,” says Christina Konadu, CEO of the Bassuah Legacy Foundation (BLF). “I have lived the challenges. Back then, there was no support around me. Through BLF, I wanted to build a safe space for single parents and offer the support that I missed out on,” she says.
Making up nearly a quarter of families with dependent children, there are nearly 2 million single parents in the UK. With part-time nursery places now costing over £7,000 per year, single parents are much less likely to be in employment than parents living together. “Single parents often have to give up their studies or their employment when they have children, and then never go back,” says Christina. “After being at home for a long time they often lose confidence,” she says.
Formed in 2019, BLF aims to ‘promote social inclusion and relieve the needs of single parents and their children’. Funded by Hammersmith United Charities, BLF offers basic education programmes including literacy and numeracy, money management and digital training, along with employment support like CV writing and interview techniques. There are also volunteering opportunities through the BLF’s much-loved community shop – “a great way for our members to give back to the community and make new friends,” says Christina.
“Single parents also often don’t have time to do things to help with their own wellbeing,” she says; the BLF provides a wellbeing programme which includes yoga, mindfulness and other activities, along with signposting to other local services that can help with mental health.
The team works hard to get to know each person and find out exactly what support they want. “We try to get to the bottom of every member,” says Christina. “Getting people to open up is a challenge, but we take it slowly. We celebrate each and every one of our parents to help empower them.”
She believes that there is still a lot of stigma about single parenting. As well as the practical support BLF provides, it’s also a supportive place where its members feel understood and can find their voice. “We’ve created a community where together we are a family rather than individuals. Whether you’re a single mum or a single dad, you know that you’ll be understood – everyone can be open rather than hiding themselves.”
The team has recently worked with someone who has been a single parent for a while. She had lost her job because she couldn’t afford childcare. “She had lost her confidence – lost everything – because she wanted to be there with her son,” says Christina. “It took her a long time to rebuild. But through BLF she regained her confidence. We gave her employment and wellbeing support. And now she is one of our trainers on the health and wellbeing programme, and has another job as well. We’ve been there throughout everything.”
It’s rewarding to see people go back to employment or education: “When they leave us and you see these big achievements – it feels amazing. We are so grateful for the support of funders like HUC, which helps us make such an impact on single parent families in the borough,” says Christina.
And as well as supporting the community in Hammersmith and Fulham, BLF also has a branch in Ghana, which is where Christina was born. “It is a different environment – there is more privilege here in London. In Ghana, a priority was getting a clean water supply for the community we wanted to support. After we’d helped organise that, then we could help people with basic education, finances and building our petty trading programme. Although the work we do in Ghana is slightly different, we are responding to the same need. Single parents need support wherever they are around the globe.”
Find out more
- The Bassuah Legacy Foundation is looking for funding to reach more single parents in need. Find out more about BLF here
- Christina was part of the Agents of Change female community leadership programme – find out more about Agents of Change here
- Read more about other ways we support our community
- More information about our grants programme
- Read about organisations we’ve funded