When we think of summer holidays, we tend to think back to our childhood, fondly remembering days spent frolicking in the sun, picnics in the park and ice cream on the beach. We tend to forget the pain on our parents and carer’s faces, as they ran after us desperately trying to apply sun cream.
Ask any parent and they will say that the school holidays are difficult. Kids are hard to please; they require constant entertainment. Very few of them like to kick back and relax with a good book. This leads parents to spend the 6-week school break packing in activities and trips to tire their little ones out so that they can at least get a good night's sleep. However, for many parents, the school holidays bring with them additional worries.
According to a recent study published by The Independent, the summer holidays cost parents an average of £600 per child. Many surveyed expected to spend up to 20% of their annual income on their kids during the summer holidays. For low-income households from areas of high deprivation, this is money that they cannot afford to spend. Indeed, for many families, it is a struggle to afford food for their children when they no longer have access to the free school meals they do during the rest of the year.
Moreover, for parents that work for companies that do not allow flexible working hours over the summer, the only option is to fork out hefty sums for childcare or holiday camps.
For many young people in Lambeth, whose families cannot afford to pay for camps and courses, the summer holiday means a lot of hanging around. Rather than keeping them entertained and active, this leaves them vulnerable to the pressures of their local environment. At BIGKID, we seek to address this problem, and spend the 6-week summer holiday delivering free football, youth club, tennis and basketball sessions for our local community. By engaging young people in more positive activities, we can keep them happy, active and help them to develop essential life skills.
Summer is a glorious time, though for some families it can often feel like a burden – at BIGKID, we hope to help them carry it.