Home-Start to launch #BehindTheMask campaign with Bandicoot and ITV's The Masked Singer to encourage struggling parents to ask for help

Parents will be encouraged to take off the mask and talk about the reality of raising children – particularly during the pandemic – when The Masked Singer, produced by Bandicoot Scotland, part of Argonon, airs on ITV for its third series.

During 'The Masked Singer' show, Home-Start UK will encourage families to open up about the reality of parenting and also encourage others to check in with a family member, neighbour, work colleague or friend, to see how they are doing and if they need help. Parents will be encouraged to share their honest, unfiltered parenting experiences on social media using the hashtag #BehindTheMask.

Home-Start UK has been chosen alongside NSPCC and AdoptionUK as one of three charity partners supported by the popular Saturday night TV show, which features guesswork, theatrics, singers in disguise and larger than life performances.

Vivien Waterfield, Deputy Chief Executive, of Home-Start UK said: “We are absolutely delighted to be chosen as one of three charity partners with ITV’s The Masked Singer. With the support of Bandicoot and ITV, Home-Start wants to begin a massive online conversation to encourage families who are struggling, for whatever reason, to come out from behind the mask and ask for help if they are going through tough times.

“Research shows parents still feel a huge stigma around asking for help, with nearly half of all UK parents admitting they always or often feel ashamed of asking for support, especially when there are mental health concerns. Our new campaign encourages parents and caregivers to share some of the day to day funny, memorable and challenging things which happen to all of us as part of being a parent – with the hashtag #BehindTheMask.

“Parenting is a tough enough job as it is, but with the added anxiety and stresses of Covid lockdowns, financial pressures, health-related concerns and for some, bereavements, it has been a really difficult couple of years for families. We hope The Masked Singer provides some much needed light relief but also starts an all-important conversation about seeking help and where to go for help if it is needed. The need is growing as more families than ever before are finding they need support.”

Bandicoot MD Derek McLean and Creative Director Daniel Nettleton said:We are delighted to partner with ITV to offer a platform for Home-Start to reach our loyal army of fans. We’ve got the licence to be even more bonkers than ever before with a new series packed with surprising names and musical mayhem.”

Home-Start UK stands alongside families to offer compassionate, non-judgemental support on a wide range of issues including postnatal depression, bereavement, coping with twins, loneliness, coping with a child or parent with disabilities and a range of support with finances.

With a network of more than 10,000 trained volunteers at more than 180 Home-Starts across the UK, last year, the charity supported around 57,000 children in 26,000 families.

The Masked Singer has become a national obsession and saw a peak of 10m viewers earlier this year all trying to figure out “who’s that behind the mask”. Launching on January 1st, Joel Dommett once again hosts the third series with Davina McCall, Rita Ora, Jonathan Ross and Mo Gilligan heading back to their detective chairs as the guessing game begins all over again.

The Masked Singer judges

*A pandemic survey by Home-Start UK 'Home Is Where We Start From' June 2021 shows that parental wellbeing is an issue for 93% of the families supported by the charity. Around 85% feel they are getting it wrong all the time and 47% found parenting much more challenging through the pandemic. There were 75% of parents who found isolation was their biggest challenge while 64% are concerned about their child's lack of social interaction.

Almost half (45%) of parents always or often feel ashamed about needing help – IPSOS MORI/Royal Foundation 2020

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