The Loneliest Summer

We’re proud to announce the publication of our newest report, The Loneliest Summer, with Contact.

The majority of families with disabled children (81%) would like a holiday club for their disabled child during the six-week break: 40% to enable them to work and 77% so their child can socialise with other children. 

But just 10% have found something suitable and 4% of everyone surveyed said they’d found something for the days and hours they need. 

Other key findings include: 

  • 78% of parents feel stressed and anxious due to lack of holiday clubs this summer. 
  • 34% of parents don’t work because of a lack of childcare including holiday clubs. 
  • One in five say that the holiday clubs they have identified are oversubscribed. 
  • Over a third of families report that holiday club providers cannot meet their child’s needs.  
  • For those parents in paid employment 19% will have to reduce the hours they work during the six-week summer break. 

The lack of holiday clubs is particularly hard for families with disabled children who have no informal childcare arrangements. Playdates are just not an option. 27% of families did say they would be tag-teaming with their partner or extended family, but for children with high care needs, family and friends can’t step in. 

In addition, disabled children need structure and routine to maintain sensory regulation which helps reduce anxiety and challenging behaviour.  When structure is absent, disabled children’s needs may increase not just in the home but also upon their return to school.   

You can read the full report here.