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One in five full-time working parents expect they will have to skip a meal during the school holidays so they can pay for childcare and activities for their children, according to the Trussell Trust.
The Yougov survey of 945 parents of schoolchildren aged 5 to 16 found 40% say they are likely to worry about the extra cost of paying for childcare and activities for their children.
Those aged 25 to 34 appeared the most concerned about the additional financial burden of the summer holiday period, with more than half likely to worry about the extra cost of paying for childcare and activities, and almost a third likely to skip at least one meal.
The Trussell Trust is launching a national programme of holiday clubs to provide families with fun and learning activities and a hot nutritious meal. Volunteers, trained by the local foodbank to talk with parents and understand why they are struggling this summer, will also signpost families onto relevant local services or organisations to provide further support. Additionally, each club with the capacity to do so will offer parents a ‘benefits health check’ using the Turn2Us Benefits Calculator.
When asked about ways in which pressures over the school summer holidays could be eased for lower income families, 67% of parents with children aged 18 and under agreed that it should not fall to charities to provide extra support to low income families who found it difficult to feed and pay for extra childcare costs in the holidays, and 57% believe the government and local councils should do more to provide extra help to low income families during the school summer holiday period.
Adrian Curtis, Foodbank Network Director of The Trussell Trust said: “Families who rely on free school meals during term time can find themselves facing hunger in the school holidays, when there is an extra financial pressure to provide main meals. No one knows the full scale of hunger in the school holidays yet, but these figures make one thing clear: many families are closer to crisis than we think. It should be a wake-up call to us all that so many children will have a parent expecting to skip a meal or more this summer so they can feed the family.
“Foodbanks already provide additional help to families who struggle to put food on the table outside of term time, and our summer pilot of Holiday Clubs is a crucial step in broadening the support offered by foodbanks in the holidays. But foodbanks alone will not end hunger during the school holidays; a long-term coordinated solution between government, businesses, schools and charities will have the most impact.”