Life Parenting

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Parents struggle to keep up with €500 costs of sports activities

Almost two-thirds of parents across the country are struggling to pay for their childrens' extra-curricular sporting activities
Almost two-thirds of parents across the country are struggling to pay for their childrens' extra-curricular sporting activities
Mairead Ronan: 'As a mum, September is always a month of extra costs and so I think it's a great idea to reward parents for investing in their child's health and wellbeing by giving tax relief on sports costs'

Shane O'Riordan

Almost two-thirds of parents across the country are struggling to pay for their childrens' extra-curricular sporting activities as families prepare for the back to school rush.

While 88pc of parents say the September back to school period puts a serious strain on their financial situation, a substantial 91pc felt that the Government should do more to assist parents with the September burden, according to research carried out by health insurance provider Glo Health.

The survey found 69pc of parents spend more than €500 per year on their child's back to school extra-curricular sports activities

While the research reveals that 17pc of parents sign their child up for one extra-curricular activity per year, most parents (43pc) will sign their child up for two activities per year.

"As a mum, September is always a month of extra costs and so I think it's a great idea to reward parents for investing in their child's health and wellbeing by giving tax relief on sports costs," said renowned radio and television broadcaster Mairead Ronan.

Debt

Ruth Bailey, Director of Product Strategy with GloHealth, added: "GloHealth is also introducing a very practical measure to help families at this time by offering €30 cash back on children's sports club fees to all new and renewing customers this September. This will provide some welcome financial relief to hard-pressed parents at this very busy time."

Department of Education officials were unavailable for comment.

It comes after this paper revealed that close to a third of parents get into debt to cover 'back to school' costs.

The vast majority of families believe that the expense of getting children ready for the new school year is a financial burden, a survey commissioned by the Irish League of Credit Unions shows.

The average family is spending €166 per child on uniforms.

Parents of children in secondary school are spending an average of €258 on uniforms alone, the survey shows.

Earlier this summer supermarkets engaged in a price war to offer parents cheaper uniforms, but without one crucial part - the school crest.

Aldi stocks the cheapest uniforms at €5.47, while Tesco is a close second at €6.50.

Dunnes Stores' lowest combination for a boys jumper, shirt and pants is €24.70, while the same combination in Marks and Spencer starts at €28.50. Lidl provides back to school equipment but is not competing in the uniform market.

But as the supermarkets battle it out, 98pc of schools - according to research by Barnardos - will not accept cheap alternatives.

Helpline flooded with calls about CAO offers

Calls flooded into the National Parents' Council post primary freephone helpline  (180 265 165) yesterday as students and parents teased out their dilemmas about the next step, in the wake of the CAO Round One offers on Monday.

Questions about CAO choices, including whether to take an honours degree (Level 8) lower preference offer, or an ordinary degree (Level 7) higher preference offer, were among the concerns.

There was also much interest in the CAO vacant places which are available and advertised on the CAO website, because of a lack of sufficient suitably qualified applicants.

Members of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors (IGC) handled more than 655 calls yesterday, with an average of four queries per call.

It compared with about 530 calls on the same day last year, and came on top of more than 1,100 calls on Monday.

A SUSI representative is also available to deal with queries about grants.

The helpline, which is sponsored by the Irish Independent, eircom and the Department of Education and Skills, opens today from 8am to 1pm.

Irish Independent

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