Over a quarter of children and teenagers say they will offer their pocket or gift money to help their parents cover costs this Christmas according to research from Action for Children.
To launch its annual Secret Santa campaign, Action for Children commissioned a Savanta ComRes poll of 2,700 UK working parents and their children (nearly 5,500 in total), as well as a nationwide survey of its frontline staff.
98% of the working parents surveyed said they have worried about money over the past six months, with 53% having worried often.
The research also shows a fifth of working parents worry they won’t be able to afford any presents this Christmas. More than two in five said they will put on a brave face and try to act happy, with many children also thinking their mum and dad will be faking their festive cheer (41%).
Out of the children and teenagers of the parents surveyed:
- Over a third of those who had seen their parents worry in the last six months had also seen their parents become upset or stressed in front of them due to money worries (37%) and 24% experienced their parents losing their temper with them.
- Over a third (35%) think their parents will be worried about not having enough money to pay the bills over the festive period, and
- Over a quarter (26%) say they will offer their pocket or gift money to help their parents cover costs this Christmas
In a nationwide survey of nearly 200 of its frontline staff during November, Action for Children found over two-thirds of those surveyed (69%) are currently supporting a child, young person or family that is experiencing poverty or extreme financial hardship. Nearly half (45%) reported they were extremely worried about the health and wellbeing of the children, young people and families they support due to their financial situation, and one in ten had donated their own household items or clothing to families due to urgent need.
Melanie Armstrong, Chief Executive of Action for Children, said:
“For most of us the festive season is a happy time, yet as our shocking research shows there will be children all over the UK who face a very different Christmas this year. Instead of enjoying a safe and happy time, many children will wake up on Christmas morning to no presents, food or warmth. Every day our frontline workers are helping families keep their heads above water, making sure they have the basics like hot meals and proper winter clothes, as well as offering emergency support to keep homes warm and help families pay the bills.
“In yet another year when children and families have been pushed deeper into crisis, supporting them is more important than ever. Until every family can keep their child warm and well fed, we’ll be there to help them – that’s why we’re asking people to donate to help us make a life-changing difference to vulnerable children this Christmas and beyond. With your help we can be a vital lifeline for even more children across the UK.”