Has Covid-19 killed off your kid’s holiday club? Two in three working mothers say they will struggle with child care over the six week school summer break with 1-in-8 saying they don’t have access to their normal holiday activities

  • Two thirds of mothers will struggle with childcare this summer, poll suggests  
  • One in eight said they do not have access to their usual school holiday clubs 
  • Mother Anna Harris said clubs she booked in June had cancelled due to Covid
  • Has YOUR kid’s club been killed off due to Covid? Email [email protected]

Almost two thirds of working mothers in Britain will struggle with childcare over the six-week school holidays, according to a recent poll.  

The survey by Trade Union Congress and campaign group Mother Pukka involved more than 36,000 mothers, and found that nearly one in eight do not have access to their usual holiday clubs.

Sixty per cent of those quizzed said they will find it more difficult to balance work and childcare than previously, with the situation far worse for single mothers.

More than three quarters fear they do not have adequate childcare ready for the upcoming break, which begins shortly after the July 19 ‘Freedom Day’. 

Parents also complained that they had used all their annual leave already to accommodate home learning during lockdowns.

Almost two thirds of working mothers in Britain will struggle with childcare over the six-week school holidays, according to a recent poll. Pictured: Stock image

Parents complained that they had used all their annual leave already to accommodate home learning during lockdowns. Pictured: Stock image 

Mother-of-four Anna Harris, from Macclesfield, was left at a loss after several of her usual kids clubs were cancelled due to the difficultly of adhering to Covid rules.  

She now has to arrange childcare for her kids, aged four to nine, over seven weeks of school holidays, while her and her husband are both working four-day weeks.

‘Usually, our children would do a holiday club in the summer to help us manage our working and caring commitments,’ Ms Harris said. 

‘But this year there is not a single general holiday club in my area.’

The busy mother added she had been planning for the holidays since June, but clubs have been called off at the last minute due to the complexities of Covid rules.   

She said: ‘I’ve tried everything, and I’ve contacted everyone I can think of. I’m scouring social media to see if there’s anything available – and I’ve even emailed the school to ask if any teaching assistants would be available for paid childcare over the holiday. But I’m still drawing a blank.

‘I don’t know how other working parents are managing this. I’m having to put together a real patchwork of childcare. 

The survey by Trade Union Congress and campaign group Mother Pukka involved more than 36,000 mothers, and found that nearly one in eight do not have access to their usual holiday clubs. Pictured: Stock image

Sixty per cent of those quizzed said they would find it more difficult to balance work and childcare this year than previously, with the situation far worse for single months. Pictured: Stock image

‘We have a childcare bubble with some friends so they can help one or two days a week, and then the children can go to my parents for a few days.

‘But it’s all proving really stressful and is taking up a lot of time and mental space. 

‘We can’t afford to take unpaid leave and we don’t have the kinds of jobs where we can work at home with the children all here with us.’  

Has YOUR kid’s club been killed off due to Covid? 

Email: [email protected]

Parents in Ealing, west London, have also complained that school-run clubs will not be available over the six-week break.

Several private holiday clubs in the capital currently have limited places available for July, with poor availability later into the holidays.

A leisure centre in Seaford, East Sussex, said it was unable to immediately run most of its usual kids activities due to lack of staff and uncertainty over reopening.  

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, said: ‘Women have borne the brunt of the pandemic, on the front line in key worker roles and at home. 

‘Working mums picked up the lion’s share of caring responsibilities while schools were closed, with many sacrificing hours and pay to do so.

‘While restrictions may be lifting and ministers talk about us getting back to normal, working mums are still feeling the impact of the pandemic.

‘Most mums told us they don’t have enough childcare for the upcoming school holidays and are now facing a huge challenge managing their work and caring responsibilities this summer.

The TUC is campaigning for a legal right to flexible work for all workers from their first day in a job and a duty to include available flexibility in job adverts. Pictured: Stock image

‘It shouldn’t be this difficult. If ministers don’t act, we risk turning the clock back on generations of progress women have made at work.’

She added that parents are relying on flexible working more than ever to cope with the extra childcare demands posed by the pandemic.

Ms O’Grady said: ‘I’d urge employers to be as supportive as they can to their staff who have kids, and not force them back to the office if working at home helps them balance their work and childcare.’    

Founder of Mother Pukka, Anna Whitehouse, added: ‘There are approximately 62 days of holiday a year, and the average employee holiday allowance is 25 days. 

‘The maths simply doesn’t add up.

‘If we are going to recover from this pandemic and ensure the playing field is level for men and women at some point in the future, we need childcare to be part of our infrastructure – as important as roads, railways and signposts.

‘If it’s tough for a two-parent family, have a moment to consider a single-parent family. The current system has parents at breaking point.’

The TUC is campaigning for a legal right to flexible work for all workers from their first day in a job and a duty to include available flexibility in job adverts. 

MailOnline has contacted Ealing Council for comment. 

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