How OPFS support families during school holidays
OPFS provides opportunities to families to take part in trips and activities where costs for food and participation would otherwise be a barrier.
As costs are covered this allows the children and families to take part without fear of stigma and worry about financial implications for involvement.
OPFS Glasgow worked with single parent families, who are in receipt of school meals during term time, to provide nutritional meals and group activities during the school summer holidays.
These activities supported families to build happy memories together, reduce isolation and encourage parents to access the resources and activities available to families, across the city and beyond. The project which was co-ordinated by OPFS staff include –
- programme of activities
- risk assessments, consent forms and paperwork completion
- planning, purchasing and distribution of meals
- reimbursement of travel costs
- collection and distribution of toy bank donations
Meeting other children from single parent families enabled children to realise that they were not the only child living without 2 parents. Being introduced to healthy food that they may not normally be offered or have access to, broadened, their experience of nutritional food positively. Children have also been able to make new friends, have information to share in the school ground and fell less pressure within the family household. Consequently, single parent families feel less isolated and under pressure to provide extra meals and activities during the school holidays and can access services and resources that can support them to raise their family aspirations.
OPFS Edinburgh work with single fathers and run various child oriented activities, particularly over the summer and Easter breaks.
OPFS Edinburgh have run various child oriented activities to help with this, particularly over the summer and Easter breaks.
OPFS Falkirk support quite a lot of large families out of the 23 families who attend out summer activities 13 of these had three or more children.
When children are off school parents stress about –
- the costs of travelling to the supermarket
- school uniforms, the school clothing grant has been put up to £120 per year which as we know is not enough for a full school uniform including shoes and a blazer.
Children who are not in a routine get bored, this causes stress as families are stuck in the house, parents struggle to amuse their children with no activities to go to.
Activities are normally organised around age. Primary school children will attend different activities to their sibling in High School.
The logistic of getting children to activities is also a major challenge if you don’t drive.
The OPFS Food and Activities programme over the summer is fully booked before we even get a chance to advertise it. We offer food and families take away left overs which saves families money for at least two meals. Parents also access our school clothing bank. This bank is replenished every three months as the clothes are taken on a regular basis.
Flexible Childcare Dundee have a number of families reaching out during the school holidays.
There are a number of reasons for this, which includes –
- cost of childcare at this time
- school clubs can require deposits, in addition to the cost of care, for taking children on outings
Our flexible delivery model where parents can book exactly the care hours they need and are not required to pay deposits or upfront fees makes childcare more affordable and accessible to families who would otherwise face a significant barrier in accessing school holiday care.
It is evident that there is a real and pressing need for more flexible, affordable and accessible out of school, and school holiday child care facilities to be available to meet the needs of families.