Summer holidays pile stress on poor families

Children in low income families are often left with little to do
for the six week summer holiday but watch TV and play in the
street, according to a report from Barnardo’s.

Based on research in south west England, the report  suggests
the summer holidays are a particularly stressful time for families
in poverty as they lose free school meals and have to save the
money for the extra expenses – such as school uniform –
for the new school year in September. Many children had never had a
holiday, and problems of transport and finance meant leisure
opportunities were scarce.

One mother told the researchers that she prepared her children
for the inevitable school essay on “What I did in the school
holidays” by sitting down with them to make up stories of
summer activities.

The report, by Owen Gill, calls for a minimum income standard,
entitlement to food benefits during the summer holidays for
families on income support and a statutory duty to be placed on
local education authorities to ensure that families dependent on
income support receive school uniform grants to cover the full cost
of essential items.

Wish you were here, by Owen Gill. Barnardo’s  2003.


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