Families in Northern Ireland tell of severe financial struggles during the summer


Nine out of 10 low-income parents in Northern Ireland say they are having to cut back on essential spending for themselves this summer in order to provide for their children.

Research commissioned by Save the Children, in partnership with the charity In Kind Direct reveals, of those polled,  41 percent  are having to choose between feeding themselves and providing for their children. 

The research in Northern Ireland shows that:

• 91 percent of parents polled are cutting back on items such as clothes and energy bills, so they can afford activities for their families.

• Over a quarter of parents polled (27 percent) are taking their children on fewer days out this summer.

• 54 percent are worried about their children feeling lonely this summer.

It comes as Save the Children provides £20k in funding to a range of community organisations in Northern Ireland to deliver Summer of Play activities, including forest schools and fun days, that will reach around 500 children.

Dance Academy being held at Family First Support Hub in the Old Library Trust, Creggan, Derry. It’s one of the Summer of Play programmes that Save the Children funded

In Derry, one of those programmes is a Dance Academy being hosted by the Family First Support Hub.  Sharon Doherty from the Hub says: “The funding will enable us to provide fun, interactive activities for children in the local area who do not have either access to or options during the summer months, for play that’s specific to their needs.”

A mum who has children attending the events, funded through the Summer of Play initiative, said: “Without the family hub and summer camps I would be totally lost and restricted as to what my kids could do.  As a single mum I don’t have the financial means to send my kids to camps as they are so expensive, so my kids would miss out without these activities being organised.”

Laura Feeney, Senior Partnership & Practice Manager at Save the Children Northern Ireland, said: “The summer should be a time of fun and freedom for children, but we know from the stories we’re hearing how big the struggles are for many families.   Our real hope is that the grants we’re offering organisations to create Summer of Play will provide hundreds of children with summer memories they wouldn’t otherwise have.”

Paul Buchanan, interim CEO of Charity In Kind Direct said: It’s heart-breaking to hear stories from families struggling to afford food and to pay their bills, let alone being able to access activities and day trips during the summer.

“We are extremely proud to be working with Save the Children and our committed corporate partners, to ensure children and their families are supported throughout the summer holidays, by distributing much needed arts, crafts, games, back to school items and sharing free, low-cost ideas so families can play, learn and live well’’.

To access the Summer of Play free resources visit www.summerofplay.co.uk