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Coronavirus: Our UK response

Helping families get through the crisis

The coronovirus crisis has had a huge impact on all UK kids, but for our poorest kids there's real risk they face falling even further behind. We've been working in the UK since the 1920s, and with your support we're responding to the urgent needs of struggling families across the nation.

The effect on UK families

Over four million children live in poverty in the UK, and the coronavirus outbreak has put even more families on the brink of poverty. We can't let that number rise.

With earnings reduced or gone, some parents are struggling to provide basics such as food, and support their children's education at home. This crisis mean kids' growth and development, mental health and wellbeing are at real risk. 

Donate to our coronavirus appeal

With no projected timeframe for the end of this crisis, many families are at crisis point.

What are the four key issues families face?

Supplies in food banks are limited, and food, hygiene and baby products in shops are often low or out of stock. This is particularly tough for families who have tight budgets and need essentials such as nappies, baby milk and cleaning supplies.

Already overstretched parents are now dealing with the added pressure of financial uncertainty. They’re also having to cope with reduced access to social support networks and full-time childcare – often living in limited space and lacking resources. Parents need clear information and signposting to key services.

For many families, their main priority is to ensure that children are fed and looked after, meaning they don’t have time to support their children’s learning as much as they would like. Children need to keep up their routines and include time for play and learning, while parents need tips and information to support their children’s learning at home

Being able to get on the internet is essential for many home learning resources, as well as receiving public health information and connecting with local communities. Many families living in poverty don’t have access to Wi-Fi, or don’t have the right kind of devices to support their children’s learning and development. 

Are you a parent who is struggling financially due to COVID-19?

We're keen to find parents who are experiencing the specific issues we're campaigning on so that we can share their stories and demonstrate the problem to decision makers.

Your answers won't be shared with anyone without your permission and we're committed to protecting your personal information. For more about how we collect, use and look after your details, please read our full privacy policy

Save the children's response

Families need immediate relief, but also require medium and longer-term support to ensure they can get through the crisis. How we're helping:

Our Emergency Relief Package for families

We know that parental engagement and the home learning environment are key to children’s development. Therefore, we have developed an emergency package for families affected by COVID-19, which offers:

  • Early learning resources, including educational toys and books
  • Food e-vouchers that can be used in major supermarkets or online
  • Household products to support the home learning environment, such as a table and chairs
  • Advice on how to support their children’s learning at home, information on available services, tips on explaining coronavirus to their children and how they can manage their own stress.

This emergency grant response for parents and children at home will initially be delivered in 12 areas across the UK where we are already working. However, we know the need for this support is far greater, and we can scale up this offer to other areas if we receive enough funding.

This vital support will reduce parent’s stress, improve children’s home learning and ensure families get the essentials they desperately need.  

Via a simple online process, local partners such as health visitors and family support workers can refer struggling families for an emergency grant. To make sure we’re reaching the families who most need support, families need to meet a set of criteria – for instance, they must have a child aged 0-6 who is a risk of falling further behind in their early learning,  be living on a low income in one of the areas we work in and be referred to us via a partner.

To help the many more families who we can’t reach, we are campaigning for and with them to ask the UK Government ensures families who are struggling because of Coronavirus – many of whom we’re facing challenges before the pandemic - have the financial support they need to make ends meet.. For more information, please see our longer-term response.

Help get more packages out to families in need. Donate to our coronavirus appeal >

child drawing a rainbow

A long-term response as families will need support to transition back into ‘normal life’ when lockdown restrictions are lifted and to prepare children for going back to school.

To support our medium- and long-term plans, we have launched our #FamilyRescuePackage campaign. Through this, we’ll work to change policies to ease the financial pressure on families and give more support to families on low incomes to help their children’s learning and development at home. 

The voices of children, parents and partners will be at the heart of our response to coronavirus. We’ll make sure their experiences and needs are reflected in all our campaigning and our programmes for families.

Sign our #FamilyRescuePackage petition


Our emergency appeal restrictions

Save the Children is also raising money for emergency packages for the most vulnerable UK families. Due to the unprecedented numbers of families who need help, we are unfortunately not able to offer a package to every family who needs one. To make sure we’re reaching the families who most need support, families need to meet a set of criteria – for instance, they must have a child aged 0-6, live in one of the 11 areas we work in, and be referred by one of our partners.

However, our campaign asking the UK Government to provide families with the financial support they need will, if won, reach the millions of families that we can’t. Sharing your story could help convince them to act.

Daniel in a home made den

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