This New App Hopes To Make Life Less Lonely For Single Parents

Frolo connects you to other single parents living near you.

It’s ironic that as a single parent you never get a moment alone, yet according to statistics, feelings of loneliness among lone parents are on the increase. You might spend all day in the company of your little ones, tending to their every need and finding it near impossible to get a moment’s peace, but outside of that, a social life can be lacking. On weekends the invitations aren’t exactly flowing and when life gets tough or parenting responsibilities take their toll, it can feel like there’s no one to turn to or confide in.

This experience is one that was typical for Irish entrepreneur and single parent Zoë Desmond. “Just after my son Billy turned one, my relationship with his dad broke down and we split up,” she shares.

“It was a very difficult time, I felt heartbroken to see my dream of having my own little family shattered and I felt a sense of guilt and failure for not being able to provide a two parent home for my son. I was also not prepared for the loneliness I would feel as a single parent, especially at the weekends when all I could see were families around me.

“I didn’t want to impose on my friends or family or reveal how tough I was finding things, and to be a burden to anyone. I didn’t know any other single parents, yet all I wanted at that time was to have people to talk to who could relate to how I was feeling. I began wishing I could find local single parents just like me who would be up for meeting up for play dates and Sunday lunches and little fun adventures at the weekend.”

It was this experience that prompted Zoë to create Frolo, an app that would help single parents to connect for friendship. “Around this time, I learned that one in four families are single parent families in the UK and Ireland and it dawned on me that there must be lots of single parents living close by but the challenge was finding them!” she explains. “I trawled the internet and apps but much to my disappointment and surprise I couldn’t find a way to find and connect with local like-minded single parents, and it was then I started to dream up the idea of Frolo.”

The premise of the app is simple, and it works in much the same way that dating apps or social apps like GirlCrew do. “Frolo is a community for all single parents,” Zoë explains. “It’s for single mums and dads – whether you have come to single parenthood via a relationship breakdown, or the loss of a loved one, or whether you have decided to go it alone via the sperm donor route. ere is nothing like Frolo that currently exists anywhere – it is the first app of its kind for single parents, globally.”

Zoë explains that there are four main functions of the app. Firstly, the discovery function that allows users to discover like-minded single parents living in your area according to your location, shared interests and similar aged children. Then there’s the meet-up search for local Frolo meet-ups or the option to create your own Frolo meet-up, where you can even organise Frolo holidays and trips.

Next, there’s the messaging function that enables users to message each other privately within the app and finally, there’s the community newsfeed, where you can post questions and updates and seek and share guidance and advice with your connected Frolos, and the wider Frolo community. It’s all designed for single parents to find single parent pals.

Frolo launched here in Ireland in September, and it’s already been making waves on social media, with a connected online community already in place. “I launched Frolo on Instagram about six months ago with the intention of just setting up a page and getting the word out,” Zoë recalls. “One of the first posts on the page was my own story where I shared how the idea for the app came from my own personal struggles as a single parent. I wasn’t at all prepared for the response and flurry of activity that has been happening around the Frolo Instagram page ever since.

“Single parents from all over got in touch to say that my words were like reading their own story and that they identified with the loneliness at the weekends and coping with the contrast of an empty home versus the intensity of single parenting in co-parenting situations. I think it gave people comfort and made people feel less alone to know there are lots of others out there experiencing exactly the same unique challenges.

“The Frolo Instagram page has become its own community where Frolos share their stories, seek advice and offer each other moral support – it’s a safe and supportive space for Frolos and is positive and empowering. And I love that everyone in the community refers to themselves as a ‘frolo’ – it has a much nicer feel to it compared to single parent! And that was my intention, to be able to change the narrative around single parenting so that I could call myself a frolo with pride as opposed to a single parent with a hint of shyness and shame.”

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Hi there Frolos, Zoë (and Billy) here again. I am so excited to see the Frolo community come to life the way it is. The sharing of stories and personal experiences, the moral support and compassion, the strength and courage of so many on here, the way this community immediately jumps in to share tips, recommendations, resource and expertise where it’s needed – It’s very cool. I feel so proud of what Frolo is becoming already and the App hasn’t even gone live yet! I wanted to mention three things while I have the mic: 🎤 ⭐️ App update: Beta testing begins at the end of this week! And all going according to plan the App will be available to download from iTunes in January. ⭐️ Frolo Intros: Let’s get to know each other on the Frolo insta page. Send me a photo and your story (or whatever you would like to share) to Hello@frolo.co.uk ⭐️ What do you need help with?: If you would me to put something (Frolo related) out to the community or would like a certain issue or topic discussed on insta live, just send me a DM with your suggestion or request. And please keep spreading the word about Frolo! 💛🙌🏼💫

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Perhaps the Frolo community is already taking off because Zoë has such a strong, personal understanding of the struggles of being a single parent. “Loneliness is pronounced because single parents don’t have a significant other there to share the highs and lows of parenting with – it’s a different experience. And navigating weekends when all you can see is families everywhere can be hard, as can navigating Christmas and holidays,” she surmises.

“The benefits of having other single parent friends is that you are living a shared experience and because of that you can instantly relate to each other’s unique single parent challenges, and you can offer each other understanding and support on a level that non single parents cannot. It also opens up options for people to spend the weekend and holidays with instead of feeling like you have to impose on friends or wait for invitations.”

So if you’ve been longing for connection, and wishing that you had some single parent pals to share the highs and lows of life with, someone to join you in lamenting a long day over a glass of wine or even just a pal you and your kids could go to the park with, everything you’ve been searching for, could be right in the palm of your hand.

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