School summer holidays; what emotions do those three words conjure up? Many people would probably say happiness, joy, possibly even blissful nostalgia, but there are a lot of parents out there who are more likely to say anxiety, dread, and worry.
At Fife Gingerbread we are all too aware that there’s another side to school holidays that is often never considered. During the holidays, parents with children who receive free school meals will need to provide up to 35 extra meals to each child over the seven weeks, which for those already living on low incomes or in poverty can be a massive struggle.
Parents also have the tough task of keeping children entertained over the holidays. Fife Sport and Leisure Trust have various summer camps to keep kids amused and active of the summer, however they are expensive. Their Active Kidz Camp, for example, which runs on weekdays from 9am – 4pm, costs a hefty £62 per child per week and doesn’t include lunch or drinks.
Of course there are parks all over Fife that parents can take their kids to, but without organised activities children can end up playing on their own or with siblings, instead of in larger groups with a trained adult leader.
So what is Fife Gingerbread doing about it?
We know all about the issues parents face during the holidays, and have been providing means to overcome the struggles for several years through summer a programme that always combines three essential elements; fun – food – free.
This summer, our projects are running no less than 95 free summer groups or activities across Fife for the families that we support. These take the form of picnics, trips to the beach, fun and games in local parks, arts and crafts, cycling trips and film clubs, all of which include food for the family. We also take advantage of services such as the ‘Play on Wheels’ mobile play service and ‘Be Experiment’ who deliver science workshops.
This service is not just for the summer holidays either, we also have Easter and October holiday programmes for our families, as well as a Festive Package which provides essential food, fuel and cosy clothing for the Christmas holiday period.
Families should enjoy school holidays, not be hit financially by them, and that is something we will always strive to alleviate.
Chief Executive Officer