The summer holidays are almost here and this can be an expensive time for parents. And this year money might be even tighter, because we’re living through a cost of living crisis.
Prices of food, electricity and petrol are rising while childcare costs continue to be painfully high, so keeping kids entertained – and or even fed – during their six weeks off school may be a challenge.
“Prices are soaring while struggling families are cutting back or even turning to food banks,” Jonathan Ashworth, shadow secretary of state for work and pensions, said.
Food banks in the UK distributed over 2.1 million emergency food parcels to people in crisis – a year-on-year increase of 14% – between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022. Which may explain why this tweet is doing the rounds:
— Chris Pearson (@Chris_G_Pearson) July 10, 2022
Middlesborough-based Twitter User Chris Pearson shared a list detailing the restaurants and cafes where kids can eat for free (or with discounts) during the summer holidays.
Though this information might be able to help some parents, a few users have found flaws with the deals. Several of the meals are only free with one paying adult and some families might struggle to meet the minimum spend.
The only drawback is the ‘one paying adult’ rule. Many families would struggle to pay for even one adult meal. Asda seems to recognise this. If any families do have a small amount to spend on a meal out, but not enough for the whole family this could help.
— Vivienne 💙🧡🌻 (@Vdweller) July 10, 2022
This doesn’t seem like a great idea imo. Most of these aside from Morrisons aren’t really great value. For £10 you can feed a family of 4 with a roast &probably have some leftover for the follow days lunch. They invite the kids for free because there’s enough margin to do so 1/2
— Anish Chauhan (@an1shchauhan) July 11, 2022
It also entices people to the store where they will invariably spend money. Win win for the supermarkets etc
— Miss Brightside😊🖤🌸💜 (@Staying_free21) July 11, 2022
Looks good on the surface. But, nobody buying a meal for themself in Bella Italia is struggling to make ends meet. An adult meal could cost a week's shopping money. Asda is the only one here that's truly helping those who really need the help. For the rest, it's a gimmick.
— Amanda Brooks 🏴🕊️🐕🎨🎭🔬 (@MrsABC321) July 10, 2022
Apart from Asda, all others are reliant on an adult purchasing food so for those that are really in need, this still isn’t necessarily affordable.
— Linda A 💙💙💙 (@EllCeeAy) July 11, 2022
If you’re a parent looking for further help on finances you can go to Citizen’s Advice for support. For the 2022-23 tax year, parents can claim £21.80 for their first child and an extra £14.45 a week for any additional children. Parents will be paid child benefit until their child turns 16, or until they turn 21 if they’re in an approved form of education or training.
Here are a few other organisations helping families: