Burnley based comedienne and mum-of-three Mel Moon has launched a support group for single parents - a year after she became one herself.
The loneliness, despair and isolation she felt after a very painful separation from her long term partner has spurred Mel to launch the online group to reach out to others who may be experiencing the same pain she went through.
The Single Parent Support network is aimed at people living in Burnley, Padiham and the surrounding areas who are struggling to cope with the demands of bringing up children on their own.
Mel came up with the idea for the group after receiving hundreds of messages of support from family, friends and complete strangers, when she bared her soul on social media after the split ,which happened just before Christmas last year.
Mel said: "In one week I became the most miserable, terrified, exhausted, lonely broken wreck I’ve ever known.
"But I also had three children looking to me for security.
"They had a whole lot of questions and feelings I felt too devastated to know how to handle.
"The most wonderful time of the year became my nightmare. I remember them going to their grandparents Christmas Day night and feeling like my entire world had collapsed."
Coping with heart failure, which she suffered after the birth of her youngest child, Sonny who is almost two, only added to the agony for Mel who had no friends in a similiar situation she could identify with.
And old friends simply didn't know what to say to her.
Mel, who also has sons Reece (13) and eight-year-old Riley, found social media a great distraction and the forum where she could identify with others who knew exactly what she was going through.
She said: "Social media was a good distraction and I noticed when I spoke to others who had lived through similar things, I felt better and less like some silly girl who couldn’t get over a boy and more justified as a woman who was concerned for her children and how they would be affected by it all."
The Single Parent network is a place for those who have split from a partner, either through separation or death to meet others who "get it."
People can chat online, meet for coffee or meals out and get togethers with our without their children. The forum also gives them the opportunity to talk about issues such as mediation and custody and also moving on with their lives.
Mel said: "It is not an ex bashing forum but it is a place where no-one will tell you to get over it, no one will tell you you’re silly in how you feel, and you can get support in being as strong as you need to be for your children who as always, are the ones who suffer most.
"The only requirement to join is that you are a parent who raises one or more dependant children, all or either some or all of the time."
The group can be found on facebook under the name Single Parent Network Burnley and Padiham and surrounds and a new list of events is on the cards in the run up to Christmas.
Mel added: "I realise now a year on our new family is going to be just fine.
"And that’s largely down to every single one of the people that dragged me through that horrendous time and really believed I was good enough, capable enough and strong enough to do this on my own."