Press Release: 1 in 5 parents will skip a meal this summer

40% of parents worry about extra costs of paying for childcare this summer holiday & 1 in 5 will skip a meal or more to feed their kids

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  • 1 in 5 British parents of schoolchildren aged 5 to 16 will skip a meal or more this summer holiday so there will be enough food for their children to eat; this increases to almost 1 in 3 for those aged 25 to 34
  • Almost 1.5 million could skip a meal or more this summer holiday to feed their children*
  • The Trussell Trust saw 5,000 more emergency food supplies given to children by foodbanks in July and August last year compared to previous two months
  • Churches and community groups launch holiday clubs across UK to respond to urgent need


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British parents of schoolchildren aged between 5 and 16 are concerned about the extra financial pressure of this year’s summer holiday, with 40% likely to worry about the extra cost of paying for childcare and activities for their children. 1 in 5 mums and dads surveyed expect to skip a meal during the six-week break so there will be enough food for their children to eat, revealing serious concerns amongst parents looking to this year’s summer holiday.

Amongst the parents, those aged 25 to 34 appear the most concerned about the additional financial burden of the summer holiday period, with more than half (51%) likely to worry about the extra cost of paying for childcare and activities, and almost 1 in 3 (32%) likely to skip at least one meal. The figure is also worryingly high for full time workers, where 1 in 5 felt they would be likely to need to skip at least one meal.

Today’s new statistics come as UK poverty charity, The Trussell Trust, launches a national programme of holiday clubs to tackle this urgent issue. Designed for both children and parents, Trussell Trust Holiday Clubs, supported by the innocent foundation, 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 organizations 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.

85% of parents with children aged 18 and under agree that free school holiday clubs for children that provide activities and food would significantly help relieve stress for low income families during the school holiday period. After seeing increases in the volume of emergency food given to children during the school holidays, The Trussell Trust started developing its Holiday Clubs project for their network of foodbanks as part of a preventative solution to hunger and isolation. Funding from the innocent foundation means this will be the first summer to see a pilot in fourteen foodbanks of The Trussell Trust’s Holiday Clubs project. In total across the Trussell Trust network more than 40 churches and community groups will be involved in providing holiday schemes this summer alongside their foodbank activities, meaning over 1 in 10 Trussell Trust foodbanks will be working in some way to offer extra help to families struggling this summer.

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.”

Everyone can help make a difference. A donation to The Trussell Trust’s Summer Appeal will help develop projects like Holiday Clubs, which help foodbanks to provide people with additional support to break out of poverty.  For more information, please visit www.trusselltrust.org/summer-appeal-2016

Ends

Contact

Emma Thorogood, Press Officer: emma.thorogood@trusselltrust.org or 020 3745 5982

Notes to Editor:

*According to the ONS, the GB 18+ population is 49,921,573. Based on the YouGov results and calculations by The Trussell Trust, 15.04% are parents of children aged 5 to 16 in school, which equates to 7,509,692. Of these, 19.56% will skip at least one meal so there will be enough food for their child(ren) to eat during the upcoming summer holiday period. This equates to 1,468,896 parents of children aged 5 to 6 in school.

The Trussell Trust:

  • Every day people in the UK go hungry for reasons ranging from redundancy or bereavement to welfare problems or receiving an unexpected bill on a low income. The Trussell Trust’s network of over 420 foodbanks provides three days’ emergency food and support to people in crisis across the UK.
  • In 2015-16, Trussell Trust foodbanks provided 1,109,309 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis. Of those helped, 415,866 were children.
  • Everyone who comes to a Trussell Trust foodbank is referred by a frontline professional like Citizens Advice, housing associations and children’s centres.
  • Trussell Trust foodbanks do much more than food: they provide a listening ear and help resolve the underlying cause of the crisis either through signposting onto relevant local charities or providing on-site immediate support, such as debt and money advice.

Trussell Trust Holiday Clubs:

  • In the school holiday months of July and August 2015, foodbanks in The Trussell Trust’s UK-wide network provided 63,442 three day emergency food supplies to children in crisis; 5,000 more than the 58,543 food supplies provided to children in the preceding two months.
  • The Trussell Trust’s Holiday Club project allows foodbanks to develop a Holiday Club without starting from scratch – it provides training and guidelines for foodbanks within The Trussell Trust network, equipping them to run Holiday Clubs that provide food, fun activities and support to families are struggling during the school holidays.
  • Designed for both primary school children and their parents, Trussell Trust Holiday Clubs have three main aims:
  • To provide children and families with nutritious meals and ensure that children go back to school with the energy they need to learn
  • To offer fun activities and learning to keep children and their families engaged and active throughout the school holiday
  • To offer additional support for families, and give both children and their parents the chance to make new friends while recognizing they are not the only family finding it hard during the holidays.
  • Volunteers at clubs are trained by the local foodbank to talk with parents and find out if they are in a situation where additional help is needed. Volunteers will then signpost families onto a relevant local service or organization, providing them with the information they need to access this help. In line with the recommendation of the cross-party parliamentary ‘Feeding Britain’ report, each club with the capacity to do so will offer parents a ‘benefits health check’ using the Turn2us Benefits Calculator.
  • An initial trial with five foodbanks during the Easter Holidays supported 236 individuals who attended at least one club session (67 families: 72 adults and 164 children).
  • Two years of funding from the innocent foundation means this will be the first summer to see a pilot in fourteen foodbanks of The Trussell Trust’s Holiday Clubs project, and next summer will see the project rolled out further.

YouGov survey:

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 945 parents of children aged 5 to 16 who are taught in school, and 1434 parents of children aged 18 and under. Fieldwork was undertaken between 14th – 19th July 2016.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). A summary of the YouGov survey results can be found at: YouGov poll on Holiday Hunger