One in five parents expect to skip a meal during the six-week break so there will be enough food to feed their children, increasing to almost one in three for those aged 25 to 34, according to a new YouGov survey and calculations by The Trussell Trust.
ONS data puts the GB 18+ population at 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, equating to 1,468,896 parents – almost one in five.
British parents of schoolchildren aged between 5 and 16 are also 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.
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 Trussell Trust launches a national programme of holiday clubs with the aim of tackling the 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.”
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.
YouGov polled 945 parents of children aged 5 to 16 who are taught in school, and 1434 parents of children aged 18 and under, between 14th – 19th July 2016.