Every year, many parents are faced with an expensive six week summer headache when it comes to childcare.

Now, help could be at hand via an unlikely source – supermarket giant Sainsbury’s. It has announced summer holiday clubs across the country for just £7.50 a day which could help stimulate competition and bring down prices. 

Working parents can be faced with the dilemma of high childcare costs in the summer which could force them to take time off. 

Sainsburys has launched 70 kids clubs across the country which will cost parents just £7.50 a day and will provide healthy lunches and activities

Sainsburys has launched 70 kids clubs across the country which will cost parents just £7.50 a day and will provide healthy lunches and activities 

This year, there will be 70 ‘active kids holiday clubs’ from Sainsbury’s, after a successful trial of 23 last year. 

The £7.50 price includes activities, healthy lunches and snacks. The costs are low as the holiday clubs are subsidised by the retailer itself.

It comes as a study for Sainsbury’s shows working parents are set to fork out £34 per day during the summer holidays for each child.

This will collectively cost families £9.9billion (see our chart below on ‘how other summer holiday camps’ costs compare’ for our own quick analysis of competitor costs).

It found that families based in Scotland and the South East spend the most over the summer holidays, coughing up more than £1,000 over six weeks.

Its study also highlighted the trend of ‘electronic babysitting’ where parents use television and games consoles to act as carers or to offer a form of entertainment.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson says: ‘We know from speaking to parents that the summer holidays can be a difficult and expensive time to keep children entertained. 

Sainsbury’s clubs don’t meet my needs (yet)

As a parent of two children aged three and six, only the oldest would qualify to gain for Sainsbury’s clubs as they only take children from age five to 15.

So it leaves me with a dilemma of still hiring a childminder while I’m at work so that my youngest is cared for. 

Alternatively, like so many other parents, my husband and I would have to take time off in order to ensure our children are looked after during the holidays.

With 70 locations being rolled out throughout the UK you’d think that I would have a club fairly close home, but when I entered my postcode I found that the nearest facility was 21 miles away in Orpington – a 21 minute car journey. 

Parents are allowed enrol their children to any of the 70 clubs on offer so I also ventured to find out the nearest facility to my office in Kensington. 

Unfortunately, the nearest facility to that was 4.2 miles away in Brixton, which would take me 34 minutes to reach by train. 

Another downside is the hours of care on offer. 

It opens at 9am and ends at 4pm (with registration from 8; 45am), which may not suit all parents’ working hours – particularly those with long commutes to contend with. 

‘We are very excited to launch our active kids holiday clubs, which have been designed to help keep kids active and healthy over the holidays.

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‘With many parents spending £34 per day on childcare, we hope that our new clubs will provide parents with a cost-effective alternative to help keep the kids entertained this summer.’

The clubs are run in partnership with summer club provider active kids holiday clubs and 70 locations across the UK have been launched (scroll down below for the list).

The clubs, which will be open to coincide with the summer holiday from 22 July to 30 August, will offer a range of activities including gymnastics, tennis, cricket, dodgeball, football as well as play, dance and arts and crafts.

Bookings and payments must be done online and paid in full, but parents can also redeem their Nectar points to pay for the days their children attend the summer camps.

A spokesman says: ‘All spaces are subject to availability, so we would encourage parents to book now to avoid disappointment.’

Most of the hours of care offered in a session that starts at 9am and ends at 4pm but the clubs are available for registration from 8.45am. 

Sainsbury’s revealed that this could be changed based on the feedback given by parents.

The camps are available Monday to Friday but parents can choose the days at which their children can attend. 

A spokesman added: ‘Subject to availability, parents can book their children in for a minimum of one day or maximum of five days a week, up to six weeks, that the clubs are running.

‘We would encourage parents to book their children in for the minimum of five days from Monday to Friday to make the most of the activities on offer.’ 

How some other summer holiday camps’ costs compare
Summer holiday care provider  Daily cost  Website 
1. SuperCamps  £36 supercamps.co.uk 
2. EnergyKids  £32.50 (full day pass)  energykids.co.uk 
3. Kings Camps  £37.40 (based on a full week package and extended hours – £187) kingscamps.org 
4. Ultimate Activity Camps  £42*  ultimateactivity.co.uk 
5. Barracudas  Prices vary but generally from around £40  barracudas.co.uk 
Figures taken from respective websites and correct as at: 2 May, 2019. * Rate only valid on bookings before 11 June, 2019. 
The clubs offer a range of activities including gymnastics, tennis, cricket, dodgeball, football as well as play, dance and arts and crafts.

The clubs offer a range of activities including gymnastics, tennis, cricket, dodgeball, football as well as play, dance and arts and crafts.

If you change your mind about your booking it is possible to get a refund. 

Sainsbury’s, which has had a rough time of late after the potential merger with Asda was vetoed, added: ‘Customers have the right to cancel and receive a refund up to 15 days after the day we receive and confirm the booking.’

The same rule, however, applies to your child being sick so depending on when you made your booking you could still lose your money. 

The spokesman adds: ‘We have a premier helpline available to parents, should they need to book their children onto an alternative day due to extenuating circumstances, however this is subject to availability.’

Parents will have the opportunity to provide feedback to Sainsbury’s about the running and management of its kids clubs.

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It added: ‘We’re really excited about this trial and hope it proves popular with our customers this summer. 

‘It’s very much a pilot scheme so we want to focus on getting this right for our customers and the children. 

‘We’ll be listening to our customers and the kids who take part throughout the pilot to make sure the clubs are run in the way they, and we, expect.’

The 70 locations on offer  with Sainsbury’s Active Kids Holiday Clubs
School  Location   Dates   
1. Roding Primary School Essex   22 July – 30 August   
2.  Hatch Warren Infant School South East    24 July – 3 September   
3. Whipton Barton Junior School  South West    25 July – 2 September   
4. Portway Junior School  East Midlands    29 July – 4 September   
5.  Manor Junior School East    25 July – 23 August    
6.  Bilton School West Midlands    22 July – 30 August   
7. Herringham Primary School  East London    25 July – 30 August   
8. Carden Primary School  South East    29 July – 30 August   
9. Ridgefield Primary School  Eastern    25 July – 30 August   
10.  Harborne Academy West Midlands    23 July – 30 August   
11. Ryecroft Middle School   West Midlands    11 July – 30 August   
12. Welland Park Academy  East Midlands    15 July – 22 August   
13. Norbreck Primary Academy  North West    22 July – 30 August   
14. Kings Meadow School   Bucks & Oxs   22 July – 30 August   
15. North Lancing Primary School   South East    24 July – 30 August    
16. Joseph Turner Primary   Midlands    22 July – 30 August    
17.  Scott Wilkie Primary London    22 July – 30 August   
18. Springfield Primary School   East    25 July – 30 August    
19. The Health Hub Sharples  North West    25 July – 30 August   
20. Woolston Community Primary School   North West     22 July – 30 August   
21. Westleigh High School   North West    22 July – 30 August    
22. The Ridgeway School   South East    25 July – 30 August   
23.  Oak Hill Academy London     25 July – 3 September   
24. Juniper Hill School   South East    25 July – 3 September   
25. St Michael’s VA Primary School   Eastern    29 July – 30 August   
26.  Fairlands Primary School  Eastern    29 July – 30 August   
27. Redcastle Family School  Eastern    29 July – 30 August   
28. Ryders Hayes School  West Midlands    22 July – 30 August   
29. Racemeadow Primary Academy  West Midlands    22 July – 30 August   
30 Christchurch Primary Academy  South East    24 July – 30 August   
31. Seymour Primary   South East    24 July – 30 August   
32. Falcons Primary  East Midlands    17 July – 28 August   
33. Orchard Community School   East Midlands    22 July – 16 August   
34. Sandringham Primary School  London    22 July – 30 August   
35.  Ely College Eastern    22 July – 30 August   
36. Cliff Park Ormiston Academy  Eastern    29 July – 30 August   
37.  Brambleside Primary Academy Northamptonshire    25 July – 30 August   
38. Grindon Hall Christian School  North East    22 July – 30 August   
39. Morven Park Primary   East Midlands    25 July – 29 August   
40.  Bersted Green Primary School  South East    24 July – 30 August   
41. Warberry Primary Academy  South West    25 July – 30 August   
42. Widewell Primary School   South West    22 July – 30 August   
43.  St John’s Angell Town C of E Primary London     22 July – 30 August   
44. Bishop Challoner School   London    22 July – 30 August   
45. Werrington Primary School   East Midlands    22 July – 30 August   
46.  Hamstel Infants School Eastern    25 July – 30 August   
47. The Fernwood School East Midlands    29 July – 30 August   
48 Sheffield Park Academy East Midlands    29 July – 30 August   
49 Trentham Academy West Midlands    22 July – 30 August   
50 Barlby High School  York & Humber    22 July – 30 August   
51 Finham Park  West Midlands    22 July – 30 August   
52 Ashby Fields West Midlands    25 July – 30 August   
53 Kings Heath Primary  West Midlands     22 July – 26 July; 29 July – 2 August; 19 August – 23 August; 27 August – 30 August   
54 Erdington Academy West Midlands    22 July – 30 August   
55 Long Ridings Primary School  Eastern    25 July – 30 August   
56 Goffs – Churchgate Academy Eastern    24 July – 28 August   
57 The Acklam Green Centre North East    22 July – 30 August   
58 Hatfield Leisure Centre East    24 July – 30 August   
59 St Cyres School  Wales     23 July – 30 August   
60 The Bobby Moore Academy London     22 July – 30 August   
61 Jeavons Wood Primary School  East Anglia    25 July – 30 August   
62 Jewell Academy South West    24 July – 30 August   
63 Langstone Junior Academy South East    24 July – 30 August   
64 Sprowston Community Academy  East    29 July – 30 August   
65 Boringdon Primary School  South West     22 July – 30 August   
66 Raleigh School  Surrey    29 July – 30 August   
67 Hallsville Primary School  London     25 July – 30 August   
68 Malcolm Arnold  East Midlands    27 July – 30 August   
69 Harris Primary Academy  London     22 July – 30 August   
70 Higham Ferrers Junior School  East Midlands    29 July – 30 August   
Source: Sainsbury’s. Correct as at 2 May 2019
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