Single Parent FAQs: Summer Holiday Support – Issue 31


Our advice and information team who work on our Lone Parent Helpline, webchat and Ask a Question feature, receive questions from single parents from across Scotland every day.

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Download OPFS A-Z of Summer  for low cost activity ideas.

Take a look at the answers to the most frequently asked questions on summer holiday support:

Where can I get help to buy food over the summer holidays?

If you are on a low income and receiving free school meals for your child or children, you should receive a payment from your local council. Each local council pays a different amount and the payment is usually paid directly into your bank account. More information can be found here.

This applies to the following school holidays:

  • Easter 2024
  • Summer 2024
  • October mid-term 2024
  • Christmas 2024
  • February mid-term 2025
  • Easter 2025

If you need more help with food, you could try your local foodbank, or you could register with your local pantry.

Is there any help to buy school uniforms?

You may be able to get financial help to pay for your child’s school clothing and shoes. This help is called a ‘school clothing grant’ and is normally paid directly into your bank account. You apply to your local council.

Eligibility and the amount of money you receive depend on your local council. Everybody who receives a school clothing grant will receive at least:

  • £120 per child of primary school age
  • £150 per child of secondary school age

If you want to find out if you are entitled to the school uniform grant, please get in touch with us or contact your council directly.

Get in touch with us for a full benefit check to make sure you are receiving the correct benefits.

You can also access second hand uniforms through school uniform and clothing banks and you can buy pre-loved uniforms via ApparelExchange. It’s also worth contacting your local school, as many run their own uniform exchange programs.

Are there any free or low-cost activities that I can do with my children over the summer holidays?

Most local authorities in Scotland offer some free activities as well as lunches and snacks for children. Each council area offers different activities depending on where you live, and these may need to be booked in advance.

Visit Scotland have some suggestions of free places to visit in Scotland.

There are low cost activities you can do at home too like making a den, baking, going on a treasure hunt, having a movie afternoon with snacks on a rainy day. Check out our A-Z of free summer holiday activities. 

I am on Universal Credit and have to look for 30 hours of work per week, but I live in a rural area and there is only one childminder, with no availability. I don’t have any family support - what should I do?

We would suggest that you speak to your work coach and explain your situation to see if you can amend your claimant commitment slightly over the summer holidays, explaining there is only one childcare provider in your area and they have no availability.

My mum usually helps with childcare but she is unable to do that this year. I have found childcare but I’m on a low income and Universal Credit so how can I pay for it?

Universal Credit can be used to cover up to 85% of registered childcare costs. The maximum amount for one child (85% of £1014.63 limit) is £862.43 and the maximum amount for two or more children (85% of £1739.37) is £1478.15.

I need to work during the summer holidays. How do I find childcare?

There are different childcare options available depending on where you live and how old your children are. These include:

I booked a holiday for myself and my children. My ex-partner said that was ok. Do I need proof of this to take our children on holiday to Spain?

If you asked your ex-partner and have evidence of this in a text or email, that should be sufficient. If it was a verbal agreement, consider asking them to provide confirmation in a letter or email.

If you have a different surname to your child, it is advised you take documents such as a birth certificate to prove your relationship to your child when travelling abroad.

My son’s dad is not giving me permission to take our son on a family holiday abroad. Is there anything I can do?

If your son’s dad has parental rights and responsibilities and is refusing, you could apply for a court order.

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