Top Employer Awards 2011

Hot on the heels of the Mumpreneur awards, I’ve also located the “Top Employer Awards” from which recognise employers who are progressive in their flexible working practices and proactive in seeking to assist working parents combine successful careers with being a parent.

The awards will take place on 5th October 2011 in Central London, with entries needing to be received by TODAY (15th July 2011).

The award categories are:

  • Innovation in Flexible Working Award
    For companies with specific policies and practices related to flexible working which are truly innovative and break new ground, whether that be in a particular industry or in general.
  • Employee Engagement Award
    For companies which can demonstrate a commitment to and strategy for enabling employees at all levels to feed back their views on policies relevant to working parents, such as flexible working, and a willingness to take this feedback on board.
  • Shared Parenting Award
    For companies with specific policies for encouraging shared parenting, such as innovative approaches on shared parental leave and paternity leave which go beyond what current and proposed legislation stipulates, support networks for all parents rather than only mothers and other activities which support all parents.
  • Talent Attraction Award
    For organisations which can demonstrate that their recruitment process openly promotes flexible working.
  • Childcare Award
    For organisations with innovative policies and partnerships with childcare providers/employers which make it easier for employees to access childcare.
  • SME Award [split into sections for companies with under 25 and under 250 employees]
    For SMEs which can demonstrate a real commitment to work life balance practices which specifically help working parents, such as flexible working, support on return to work from maternity leave and career development for women and show how these are of benefit to the organisation.
  • Top Employer Award
    Selected from those shortlisted for the other awards and representing the organisation deemed to have outstanding policies on work life balance, diversity and flexible working.
  • Working Mums Champion Award
    For stand-out individuals whose efforts have made a big difference to working mums in their workplace. Potential recipients of this Award would include senior or middle managers who have, for instance, set up a parent support forum or put forward innovative proposals for areas such as maternity leave and return to work.

To find out more about the award categories and see if your company qualifies visit:

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Mumpreneur Awards 2011

I have stumbled across a website which will be of interest to a number of our members:

The website states that “Mumpreneur UK is a support network for mums in business, offering advice, resources, articles and events to parents who run their own business. Flexible working can be fantastic for families with young children, and starting and running your own business is the perfect way to achieve flexible working hours.”

It follows on to say that “As well as supporting and celebrating ‘mumpreneurs’, a mum who juggles running a business with family life, Mumpreneur UK are also keen to provide information and support for mums considering starting a business, and reach out to the public and let them know that starting a business is achievable.”

The Mumpreneur Awards, launched in 2009, are the UK’s first national business awards dedicated solely to mums and dads in business. The awards ceremony will be held on Sunday 25th September 2011 at the Heart of England Conference and Events Centre in North Warwickshire.

The award categories are as follows:

  • Best Start Up Award
  • Best Online Business
  • Best Green Business
  • Best Supporting Business
  • Best Saleswoman
  • Best Interactive Business
  • Best International Trader
  • Best Mumpreneur Product
  • Best Dadpreneur
  • And their overall winner… The Inspirational Business Mum

If you’d like to enter for the awards, the entry criteria are given by Mumpreneur UK as follows:
“If you’re a parent in the UK or Ireland who runs their own business, you are eligible to enter The Mumpreneur Awards 2011. You must be available to attend the conference on September 25th 2011, so we ask all nominees keep this date available. Previous winners and judges are our only exclusions.”

Closing date for entries is 29th July 2011, you can enter at:

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National Childcare Week

Today marks the start of National Childcare Week organised by Daycare Trust. Now in its 14th year, the week promotes the importance of childcare, extended schools, and early years’ provision for children which helps to strengthen and contribute to children’s play and learning – providing a good foundation for their future.

It is the 25th anniversary of the formation of the Daycare Trust, so they are extremely keen to encourage people to organise their own event to help celebrate the National Childcare Week and their anniversary. They are also running a children’s art competition, as well as asking childcare professionals to hold an event in their own childcare setting to encourage others to see how the childcare they provide brings positive outcomes to children.

If you want to support the week by organising your own event or activity then you can email the Daycare Trust at: and they will be happy to provide promotional materials and add your event to their calendar of activities.

To find out the calendar of events organised to mark National Childcare Week you can visit the Daycare Trusts website at:

To find out more about National Childcare Week visit:


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When should you tell your children about a new partner?

I have been asked many times before my thoughts on when it’s the right time to tell your children that you’re in a new relationship. The thing to bear in mind is that there are no hard and fast rules that should be followed, it very much depends on a number of factors, so these are only guidelines.

Most people agree that it’s wise not to announce a relationship too early to your children as there are many pitfalls along the way and you need to know that the relationship has a reasonably solid base and stands a chance of lasting. There’s no benefit to keeping your children too informed and them then being aware of a number of new people in your life over time that simply disappear again.

Also be wary of assuming that the older a child gets the more understanding they will be about their mum or dad spending time with a new partner. Yes, in theory they should be able to comprehend the reasons behind your new relationship, but be mindful that just because a child is nearing adulthood their emotional development has kept pace. If you don’t approach the unveiling of your new friend in the right way for your children then you may taint their view of your partner permanently, even if it is without basis.

To make everything go smoothly there are steps you can take that should keep you on the right line. Make sure that you don’t make the first meeting between your children and your new partner a long-winded affair, keep it short and sweet. Perhaps do something fun that is active and gives them an opportunity to focus elsewhere if they feel the need – an activity park, ten-pin bowling or the like.

When you’re on the first meeting, and even subsequent ones initially, make sure that you don’t have any public displays of affection. Build up over time to hugs, kisses on the cheek and then beyond. Your children shouldn’t be subject to affection from your prospective partner for some time and definitely don’t label them as your girlfriend, boyfriend or partner until some time has passed. Your “friend” will do just fine and will avoid the children feeling you’ve made a commitment without considering or consulting them. Of course, should your children want to show affection to your partner, such as a hug, then that is on their terms and is perfectly acceptable.

The key is to not overdo things, take it slowly and don’t spend all your time devoted to your new partner and leaving your children wondering where all their special time went with their mum or dad. It’s a delicate balancing act and a steep learning curve, but one you’re more than able to take with a little common sense and consideration towards your children. One thing to be wary of though is to not be spurred on by them if they take an instant liking to your partner – make sure you keep a clear head and judge any prospective relationship on your feelings too – not just if they fit in with your family life well.

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts and experiences on this issue….

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Lone Parents – A solo journey

Another website that I’ve visited recently is and although not as polished and smart as others such as Gingerbread, it does contain valuable information and provides an avenue for meeting other single parents too.

It contains information about returning to work, advice for single dads and a section about domestic violence. Don’t let the rough-around-the-edges appearance put you off – it’s well worth a visit.

View the website here:

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Gingerbread – Helping single parent families.

I’ve been continuing my search for useful websites for single parents and have found one called Gingerbread, who state that they “provide expert advice, practical support and campaign for single parents”.

They campaign on behalf of single parents and also have an active forum to chat to other single parents about all sorts of topics. The site is clean, crisp and well laid-out, with the menu making it easy to navigate the site and find the information you’re looking for.

Gingerbread require volunteers who want to help other single parent families whilst learning new skills and gain valuable experience. They also sometimes require paid staff, so worth checking out if you’re looking for a job too!

Visit the Gingerbread website here:

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One Space for Single Parents

I’ve been looking around at useful UK websites for Single Parents and stumbled across One Space, which has a wealth of information, support and much more for single parents. It has an active forum for single mums and dads to chat about parenting, work, separation and other interesting topics.

The “Your Money” section appears particularly useful to get your finances on track whilst the “Your Ex” area will be a superb resource for those that have recently separated.

Take a look for yourself at:

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on it.

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February is the month of love, and loneliness

So you’ve approached the new year with a spring in your step, changed the frown to a smile but your still single – February can be a tough month if that’s the case. The shops and restaurants around are all pushing Valentines day to increase their sales and it can be  a bit much to try and avoid all the hype.

What you need to remember is that this is just one day, which is promoted to death by businesses that want to make a profit. It’s just one day in the calendar and nothing is going to change if you don’t have a partner on Valentines day.

So don’t approach your dating this month as a single parent who wants to be wined and dined on Valentines day and not feel left out – approach the month as one that may find a partner that will be there to give you Valentines Day’s every day of the year in the future.

Personally, I would suggest not even bringing up the subject of Valentines Day with other members on Single Parent Dating UK, or when out on a date. Of course, if the subject comes up then chat about it and keep it lighthearted, but don’t intentionally bring up a conversation about it as you’ll be adding extra pressure onto a meeting that doesn’t need extra pressure.

Who knows, this time next year you might not even be thinking aboutValentines Day in the same way – you hopefully with have that partner you’ve been looking for that will make every day a celebration.

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A new year, a new start?

The festivities are over and regardless of whether you had a great time or things were on the less-than-favourable side you need to approach the start of the new year with enthusiasm and excitement. After all, it will help you project a vibrant personality to prospective partners if you have a spring in your step.

You need to consider how you would feel meeting someone who is down in the dumps and less than enthusiastic – I suspect it wouldn’t be an excited reaction. So make sure that you view your prospective dates and life in general with a glass-half-full approach, leaving those that encounter you in no doubt that you’re worth knowing and have a positive outlook on life.

Consider that the past is the past, the future can be shaped to bring you a happier time – despite what you may feel when things had been getting on top of you in the past. Taking small steps to improve your morale will help rather than going for one big assault on it. Getting a new haircut, colouring your hair, a new top can all add little moments of good feeling.

Perhaps it’s time to approach a friend about joining them at their Yoga classes, Swimming sessions or early morning jogging with them – all ways to improve your wellbeing and view of yourself. You don’t necessarily need to be looking to lose weight – you may be perfectly shaped already, but an exposure to occasional exercise will help lighten your mood and help you feel good about yourself – essential if you want to exude that confidence to others.

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Juggling family, dating and Christmas

December is definitely a busy time regardless of whether you have children, so throw in some children into the mix and a hectic run up to Christmas may leave you wondering if you’ll have time for meeting potential partners during this time. It can be a stressful period of the year but if you allow that to affect your romantic encounters then they’ll end up not-so-romantic encounters!

There are hopefully plenty of family members who would just love to have their grandchildren / niece / nephew etc visit them prior to Christmas and give you some time to catch up with the mystery stranger you’ve been communicating with on here. Of course, if you don’t have the luxury of babysitting relatives nearby then there are alternatives to find time to meet people.

The thing to bear in mind is that although you have a commitment to taking your child(ren) to various parties and the like, there is the possibility to double up with their friends if you ask their parents whether they can take your child and you return the favour for another party. You’ve then got a free hour or two to arrange a meet over coffee with a potential partner.

Above all else you need to remember that just because you’re single this Christmas it doesn’t mean it will stay that way for long – especially if you’re a member on Single Parent Dating UK – you have access to an amazing group of people, one of which may be your perfect partner.

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