Summer savings for the holidays ahead

The cost of the summer holidays for parents in Sheffield has been revealed
The cost of the summer holidays for parents in Sheffield has been revealed

A charity based in Clitheroe is hoping to help prevent parents from overspending during the long school holidays.

The Clitheroe Christians Against Poverty debt centre says it sees too many families dipping into the red during the summer.

Now it wants to remind families of the free or low-cost activities that can be enjoyed instead of putting family finances at risk.

Clitheroe centre manager Pamela Entwistle said: “When the weather is good, the options are more obvious, but when it’s wet, you have to be more inventive and it helps to have some good ideas to hand.”

Many local councils have activities on offer for children in parks, libraries and sports centres while most museums are free and may have special summer events on offer.

Parents are urged to do their research before the children break up from school.

Pamela said: “I want to say be smart about the summer holidays. Ask yourself, are there any free festivals, free sporting events locally? Do your research and make a plan. Decide how much you can afford each week and create a ‘treats fund’ – however small – and talk about it with your children.

“Involve them in how you will spend it – they will appreciate what happens so much more and it’s a great lesson for them.”

Christians Against Poverty has a wealth of knowledge in helping families overcome spiralling debts and encouraging them to live to a budget.

It is a charity determined to reduce hardship in the UK, with the help of local churches. It does this through 280 debt counselling centres; a money education programme the CAP Money Course and CAP Job Clubs for unemployed people. All its services are given freely for everyone regardless of age, gender, faith or background.

To find out more, visit: www.capuk.org or call 0800 328 0006.

CAP’S TOP TEN TIPS:

● Make sure you have other parents’ phone numbers before the children break up from school. A play date is the easiest way to entertain – and if the favour is returned, you might win yourself a quiet day!

● Remember treasure hunts as a kid? Geocaching is the updated version and is the sort of technology that gets out outside. All you need is a smart phone. Find out more: geocaching.com

● Anyone for tennis? Free coaching sessions for kids are available as part of the Great British Tennis Weekend via clubspark.lta.org.uk. Book your place early!

● Avoid expensive cafes on days out by taking your own sandwiches and drinks.

● Put together a craft box and hide it until you hit a rainy day. Fill it with magazines to cut up, glue, paper or card, string, sweet wrappers, milk tops.

● Get baking! It doesn’t have to be expensive. Buns, flapjacks, biscuits – they are all fairly easy and will brighten up a dull afternoon. If you don’t want to put the oven on, find a recipe online for a “fridge cake”.

● Visit someone together – a relative, friend or neighbour who would like some company. It will brighten their day and give you all a change of scene.

● Become a nature detective! Lots of free printables, ideas and venues to discover from the Woodland Trust via naturedetectives.org.uk/summer

● Competitive child? Check out free 2k runs for children between four and 14 at parkrun.org.uk/events/junioreventsfait

Don’t beat yourself up about not being able to provide a plush holiday for your family. The most valuable thing you can do is to spend time with them – even if it’s washing the car together and getting soaked.