David Drew MP: Charities have become a lifeline for families in the summer

David Drew MP: Charities have become a lifeline for families in the summer

In my column for the Stroud News and Journal I focus on some members of our society have been suffering because of the Government’s ten year policy of rolling back support for young families:

There was a water slide, craft activities and more, with children enjoying a day of free activities as part of Play Gloucestershire’s summer holiday programme.

I’d cycled up to Lawnside to join Play Gloucestershire as part of my summer programme catching up with the organisations working across Stroud.

While summer holidays are lots of fun, for many families it can also be challenging.
Play Gloucestershire is a fantastic charity which provides free play sessions across the county in schools and in the community.

It’s work that’s vitally needed, says director Pip Levett. Their play rangers run fun, and free, sessions, but, crucially, also provide lunch. For too many children summer holidays can also mean hunger.

Pip told me;

"Providing food and fun, especially during the long school summer holidays is a priority. Feeling isolated, being sedentary indoors and missing out on nutritious meals during school holidays is not good for childhood wellbeing, which is why we are so committed to our food and fun approach in the low income communities we support.”

Certainly the need is there.

New research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that many children face living in poverty during the summer holidays as their parents try to juggle rising costs, especially for childcare,
They found that steep rise in the cost of transport, nursery fees and leisure activities also makes it   harder for families to fill the summer holidays.

The summer break should be about sharing fun times, not anxiety and financial hardship. We must support more community-based organisations like Play Gloucestershire, as well as addressing the hardship faced by too many families.

• Play Gloucestershire will be at Oldends Lane Playing Field, Stonehouse on Tuesday 20 August. Full details are at playgloucestershire.org.uk 

David Drew MP:  Working for people and planet

David Drew MP: Working for people and planet

David Drew MP visits Stroud District Foodbank and The Grace Network

David Drew MP visits Stroud District Foodbank and The Grace Network