Parents of disabled children dissatisfied with summer childcare

Nearly 70% of parents of disabled children are not satisfied with available summer childcare, according to research by Working Families. Plus other news.

Nearly 70% of parents of disabled children are not satisfied with available summer childcare, according to research by Working Families.

Its research looked into whether parents of disabled children were happy with the care that was available for their children during the summer and the effect on parents’ ability to work.

Responses showed that only a third of parents surveyed were satisfied with the summer holiday care that was available for their children. Parents face a postcode lottery when looking for childcare and many find
nothing that meets the needs of their children. Over half of respondents who had access to information about summer childcare said it was not helpful to them.

The problems are resulting in a serious impact on these parents’ ability to work, said the charity.  A quarter of the parents took unpaid leave to cover weeks where there was no childcare available.  Of those surveyed, 39% felt their responsibilities prevented them progressing in their careers or limited their ability to change jobs.

Working Families says the research demonstrates the real strain felt by many families with disabled children. Over three quarters of parents said it was very difficult balancing work and care responsibilities in the summer.  3% had to leave their job because of lack of childcare during the summer holidays.

Parents who took part in the survey reported that they were limited in their choice of jobs and are forced to reduce their hours and miss out on income during the holidays.

Janet Mearns who co-ordinates Working Families’ Waving not drowning network for parents and carers of disabled children, said: "Our network members had flagged up summer childcare as a problem area and we wanted to see exactly what the areas of difficulty were.  Working Families wants to see better quality and quantity of childcare for disabled children so that both parents and children can make the most of their summer."

A third of children haven’t had a family day out

One in 3 children have never experienced a traditional family day out, according to a national survey for the charity 4Children.

The survey highlights the high number of children in Britain whose families are not able to afford traditional 
‘days out’. New figures show that 1 in 3 children have never experienced family activities such as visiting theme parks, while 1 in 10 have not been on any kind of ‘family outing’ over the past 12 months.

Findings from the Shout Out 4Children Survey 2009 reveal:
·         34% of children have never been abroad
·         37% have never been to the theatre
·         38% have never been to a theme park
·         10% have not been on any kind of ‘family outing’ in the past 12 months.

Anne Longfield, OBE, Chief Executive of 4Children said: ‘The difference in school holiday experiences between poor and more affluent families is vast.  As more affluent families enjoy their summer holiday abroad, many millions more are left at home with no prospect of even a day trip to the seaside ahead.
"With family trips to Legoland and Alton Towers costing over £100, it is no wonder they are out of reach for many parents.  Leisure resorts and theme parks need to provide more deals and vouchers for families 
who otherwise would not be able to visit. This would go a long way towards reducing the pressure on parents and helping more children to have summer holidays they can remember fondly later in life."
School uniforms and extras too pricey for many families

More than half of parents on low incomes say they can’t afford school uniforms and other equipment required by schools as the school year begins, according to a poll by YouGov.
The survey comes after the Government’s latest Cost of School report, which relate to 2007, found that parents are spending up to 4% more on school extras than in 2002 and after news that one comprehensive near Portsmouth has introduced a compulsory school uniform that costs up to £97 per child.
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Asda credits flexible working for rise in retention rates
Asda says more than 67,000 of its staff have been at the company for at least five years and claims flexible working is the reason for its increased retention figures.

Its figures for service of up to five years are a 10% increase on last year with retention rates and employee satisfaction the highest they have ever been. It also says that 23 shop floor workers are promoted to management roles every month.
It credits its flexible working schemes and employee benefits, including a 10% Asda discount, money off vouchers for days out with the kids, discounted health care and free legal advice, as having helped towards the increase in retention.

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