Fifth of parents will miss meal in summer so children can eat, study claims

One in five parents will skip a meal during the summer holidays so there will be enough food for their children, a new study reveals.

Research by the Trussell Trust showed that two out of five parents worried about extra costs of childcare during the school break.

A survey of almost 1,000 parents showed that those aged between 25 and 34 were most concerned and were more likely to miss a meal themselves to ensure their children could eat.

The trust estimated that almost 1.5 million people could skip a meal in the coming weeks.

The trust, which runs hundreds of foodbanks across the country, is launching a national programme of holiday clubs, offering activities and food to parents and children.

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.”

The trust’s foodbanks provided over 1.1 million three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis in the last year.

A Government spokesman said: “The cost of holiday childcare is falling, but we know that there is more to do to help hard-working families. Councils must provide childcare for children up to age 14 for parents who are working, studying or training and we are helping more schools to offer after-school and holiday clubs.

“This Government is doing more than ever before to support families with the cost and availability of childcare. We are investing an extra £1 billion per year by 2020 to help working families, doubling the free childcare offer to 30 hours a week for parents of three- and four-year-olds and introducing a ‘right to request’ for parents to ask their child’s school to provide wraparound childcare to fit in with parents’ working hours.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2016, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Jonathan Brady / PA Wire.