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How is the cost of living crisis affecting families?

With the rising prices due to the cost of living crisis, it's becoming impossible for many to meet the basic needs of their families, in particular, their children. As a result, parents are forced to cut their budgets - which are already minimal - just to make ends meet. With the state of the economy not looking to change any time soon, it is now more important than ever before to do your bit to help families in need.  

What is the cost of living crisis?

The cost of living crisis refers to the rising costs of everyday essentials like food and energy and is currently happening due to inflation in the UK. Inflation is the measure of fast costs that have risen year on year. The most recent rate of inflation was recorded in November as 9.5 per cent. This means that the cost of everyday essentials is about 9.5 per cent higher than in November 2021. 

At present, the cost of living crisis is particularly severe, with several factors pushing up prices, such as increasing wages, taxes, raw materials, money supply and a decline in productivity. 

How does the cost of living crisis affect families?

While everyone across the UK is feeling the pinch of the cost of living crisis, some families are feeling it much worse than others. For families who already struggle to get by each day, the cost of living crisis has made them even more vulnerable. Below, we share a glimpse into the shocking reality for many. 

Parents are skipping meals so their children can eat

The financial strain, fueled by rising prices and economic challenges, has forced families into making difficult choices. More specifically, some parents are sacrificing their own meals if it means that their children have enough to eat, giving them enough nourishment to get by each day. 

Food charity, The Felix Project, has surveyed more than 2,000 working parents in London, with a quarter saying they skipped meals or didn’t buy food for themselves so their children could eat. The survey also revealed that 11% of London's working families have less than £3 to spend on food each day. 

Buying new clothes is often too expensive

Food is not the only thing parents have to sacrifice, but the escalating cost of living crisis has placed a significant burden on families, making it increasingly challenging to afford essential items, including clothing for their children. 

As prices surge across various sectors, families are confronted with difficult financial choices. The rising costs of housing, utilities, and food leave limited resources for clothing expenses, forcing parents to prioritise the necessities. 

This economic strain not only impacts children's access to adequate and seasonally appropriate clothing but also exacerbates the stress on parents striving to meet their family's basic needs. 

Parents are struggling to buy essential items for their young children

Similarly, the skyrocketing prices across various sectors, from housing to groceries, have significantly diminished the purchasing power of families. 

Today, parents are also struggling to afford essential items for their young children, such as clothing, nutritious food, and educational materials. According to a survey from Comic Relief, 20% of parents surveyed are already relying on Buy Now Pay Later schemes to cover essential items.

This financial strain not only jeopardises the wellbeing of young children but also exacerbates the stress and anxiety experienced by parents attempting to navigate an increasingly unaffordable reality. 

Children are missing out on birthday or Christmas presents 

Families are also grappling with the harsh reality that special occasions like birthdays and holidays are marred by financial constraints, leading to children missing out on the joy of receiving presents. The economic strain has forced parents to make difficult decisions, diverting limited resources away from non-essential expenditures. 

In a poll carried out by Censuswide in 2023, 33% of respondents were worried about a friend or classmate not getting presents, and 32% worried about them being able to celebrate Christmas.

At Sebby’s Corner we run a Birthday Club, ensuring children receive a gift, balloons, decorations and of course a cake on their birthday. Any professional can refer a child, including teachers.

The crisis is taking a toll on mental health too

And, of course, the cost-of-living crisis is exacting a profound toll on mental health, compounding the already challenging circumstances individuals and families face. As financial pressures intensify, the strain on mental wellbeing becomes increasingly palpable, with anxiety, stress, and depression emerging as prevalent consequences. The constant juggling of expenses, the fear of not meeting basic needs, and the overall uncertainty about the future contribute to a heightened sense of vulnerability and distress. 

The mental health ramifications are also extending beyond the parents. In fact, nearly half (47%) of children from low-income families surveyed told the charity, Action for Children, that they worry about their family’s finances. As a result, children's stress levels are rising and are presenting themselves through challenging behaviours at home and school.

Looking for ways to help during this challenging time? Go to our website and see the list of items we need to continue supporting families in need. Thank you for all your support. Join us in making sure no child goes without the basic essentials they need to thrive. 


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