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Financial support over the summer holidays

  • 25/07/2019

This article is over a year old

Food, holiday and childcare support for families over the 2019 summer break

child in swimming pool

Almost half the year is taken up by non-school days. During this time, parents have to find money for nearly six months of extra food, childcare and activities.

Working parents will need to find over £800 on average for six weeks of holiday childcare alone, per child.

However, there are a number of schemes that may be able to help with the added costs.


The loss of Free School Meals during the school holidays can cost a family £30-40 per week. Research shows there are hundreds of local projects in the UK helping to provide fun and food for children during the holidays.

Government funded schemes – From the South West to the North East, the Government have provided just over £9 million pounds to 11 different organisations to provide free meals and activities to children over the summer.

Trussell Trust Holiday Clubs – A Holiday Club provides breakfast and lunch as well as a variety of fun activities for families on low incomes.

FareShare – FareShare has launched #ActiveAte, a nationwide holiday hunger campaign providing meals for children at risk of food poverty during the summer.

Make Lunch – Transforming Lives for Good (TLG) Make Lunch enables and equips local churches to provide lunch clubs to children during the holidays.

Accord Group – Holiday Kitchen offers families community meals throughout the year in collaboration with Birmingham City University.

Lunch Box – Footprints in the Community, a charity in Redcar, provide packed lunched to children three times a week during August.

Achieve More Scotland - AMS run holiday clubs to help children get physical activity and nutritious food every day.

Welsh Government Food and Fun Clubs – The School Holiday Enrichment Programme (SHEP) programme provides healthy meals to children in areas of deprivation during the summer holidays.

Mayor's Fund for London – Kitchen Social is a scheme run for children from low-income households during the holidays where they can socialise and get a healthy meal.

Holiday help

Some charities offer help with the costs of a holiday. Whether it’s a subsidised camping trip or a free respite break, there are a few organisations and schemes that can help.

The Turn2us Grants Search – The Grants Search is a great starting point when looking for grants for welfare and educational purposes.

Care for the Family – The ‘Take a Break’ scheme offer bursary places for people receiving Income Support or Housing Benefit.

The Outward Bound Trust – The educational charity offer adventure courses throughout the summer. You can apply through the Adventure Fund if you cannot afford the prices, or you can also pay with childcare vouchers at their Ullswater Centre.

CHICKS – The national children’s charity provide free respite breaks to children aged 8-15 from all over the UK.

Family Holiday Association – The Family Holiday Association provide British seaside breaks and day trips to families struggling on low incomes.

Kings Camps – The Supporting Families programme offers subsidised places to children during the holidays.

The Mary Macarthur Holiday Trust – The Trust gives financial assistance towards holidays for women who are in need.

Women’s Holiday Centre – Horton Women’s Holiday Centre provide affordable holidays for women and children,

YHA Summer Camps – The YHA Family Support Programme can give breaks to children and their families who fit their criteria.

Childcare costs

Your entitlement to childcare will not change over the school holidays. There are a number of childcare schemes to help you with the costs.

Childcare Element of Working Tax Credits – In order to receive this, you must meet the qualifying rules for Working Tax Credit and already be claiming Child Tax Credits or Working Tax Credits.

Tax Free Childcare – You can get up to £500 every three months for each of your children to help with the costs of childcare. For every £8 you pay your childcare provider, the Government will pay £2. You can't get this at the same time as the childcare element of Working Tax Credit or Universal Credit.

15 and 30 hours free childcare for three and four year olds – There are different schemes for each country of the UK. Check our guide (linked above) to see if you can get free childcare for your three or four year old.

Free childcare for two year olds – There are different schemes for each country of the UK. Check using the link to see if you can get free childcare for your two year old.

Universal Credit – You may be able to claim back up to 85% of your childcare costs if you’re eligible for Universal Credit.

Help while you study – If you are in school or sixth form, you could get weekly payments through Care to Learn if you’re under 20 at the start of a publicly-funded course. If you are studying at a higher level than GCSEs or A levels, you may be able to apply for Discretionary Learner Support or a Childcare Grant.

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