Children Trapped In Cities By Cost Of Living Crisis

New research has revealed that 1 in 10 children living in the UK haven’t been outside of their home county in the last year and 7 in 10 urban parents admit the cost-of-living crisis is stopping them taking their kids on trips and excursions outside of their local area.  

The research, commissioned by outdoor education provider, PGL, surveyed 715 city-based parents across the UK, including Cardiff, Swansea and Aberystwyth. It found that 71% of parents say that it’s difficult to take their child further afield because of rising costs, including transport, activities, attractions and food, leaving 53% concerned about their child’s development due to a lack of new experiences.

Nearly a quarter of parents said the cost of fuel (24 per cent) or train travel (23 per cent) is preventing them from travelling to any activity that isn’t on their doorstep.

Whereas the cost of activities is restrictive for many – with even activities like swimming (31 per cent) being deemed too costly.

Because of financial pressures, 24 per cent have also curtailed trips abroad, and 19 per cent have done the same for staycations. But children and families want to do more – 93 per cent of parents say their children are eager to visit new places further away.

The research was commissioned by PGL, which has an activity centre in Powys, to mark the launch of its Breakthrough Fund, which will provide thousands of free and heavily subsidised school residentials, giving children the opportunity to benefit from an outdoor adventure activity trip.

The fund will ensure that schools can provide residential trips away from home to children receiving Pupil Premium in England and the Pupil Deprivation Grant in Wales.

Angharad Rudkin, clinical psychologist and spokesperson for the outdoor activity educator said:  

“Children need to experience a range of situations and contexts in order to fulfil their developmental needs. Having a mix of new and familiar places and people optimises cognitive processes and also contributes to self-confidence and identity.

“Being outside their familiar place gives children the opportunity to see, smell, feel and hear all sorts of new things and also to learn to manage by themselves, such as putting their duvet into a cover or managing their fear of heights on an activity.

“Whether they are away with family or with school friends, children will learn different ways of thinking and behaving and will be encouraged to do things they may not be expected to do in their usual environment. These experiences will have short-term and long-term benefits, and because of the novelty of the situation, will be remembered for many years to come.”

The research went on to find 44 per cent of parents polled say outdoor learning can help develop resilience and self-confidence.

26 per cent of parents also said residentials helped them build resilience through overcoming challenges and setbacks, according to the OnePoll.com figures.

Anthony Jones, CEO at PGL added:

“The cost-of-living crisis is deepening the social divide between children whose families can afford wider experiences and those who can’t.

“Sadly, fewer families are now able to offer their children these opportunities to expand their horizons.

“With many parents feeling the pinch, holidays and family outings have fallen to the bottom of the list in terms of what is financially possible. This makes trips organised by schools even more valuable.”

“That’s why we’ve launched the Breakthrough Fund, offering a range of funding support to schools with parents who need it the most, to enable children, no matter what their families financial situation, a chance to benefit from a residential trip away from home.”

KEY SKILLS ADULTS DEVELOPED BECAUSE OF EXPERIENCES AWAY FROM SCHOOL: 

  1. Independence
  2. Confidence
  3. Desire to try new things
  4. Knowledge
  5. Own opinions
  6. Communication
  7. Preferences for different things
  8. Problem solving
  9. Decision making
  10. Inclusion of others
  11. Teamwork
  12. Acceptance
  13. Time management
  14. Organisation
  15. Leadership
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