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Week of Fun: 7 things to do with the kids this summer

calendar06 August 2020

Claire Wong's avatar Claire Wong

Week of Fun: 7 things to do with the kids this summer

It’s the summer holidays, but not quite as we’ve known them before. With most of the usual summer clubs cancelled, and overseas vacations off the cards for many of us, it’s a bit more of a challenge than previous years to plan in fun activities for the family.

I have an adventurous two year old, so I want to make sure we enjoy some sunny days outside this summer, and I definitely want to plan some rainy day activities to keep us entertained at home.

So, here are my seven ideas for a week of fun with your kids!

(Note: these activities are all designed to be possible around current lockdown restrictions. However, please refer to the government guidelines in your own area and adapt the activities to make sure they are safe for your family!)


Junk modelling! Gather up your old boxes and bottles, the stuff you’d normally chuck in the recycling or bin, and see what you can build by putting them together with sellotape or glue. Will you make a robot, a boat, or a house? If your kids are old enough to use sellotape and scissors by themselves, make it into a competition to see who can build the tallest box tower in the shortest amount of time.


Olympic Games! In place of the official games, run your own sports event at home or in your garden. My suggestions for events are:

  • Cushion-throw. Who can throw a cushion the furthest?
  • Bottle bowling. Line up some empty plastic bottles and try to knock them down like skittles.
  • Long jump. Probably doesn’t need explaining!


Discover your nearest nature reserve. Bored of the same old walk? RSPB reserves and others are re-opening. Find your nearest one here so you can get outdoors somewhere a bit different, and maybe spot some rare wildlife along the way!


Have a music festival at home! Lots of summer music festivals are available to watch online this year. Make it authentic by putting on wellies and face paint, then sing along to your favourite songs.


Give back. It’s great to encourage our kids to help others and support the community. Could you go on a family litter pick? Or do a sponsored event to raise money for charity?


Make your own pizzas. I’ll admit, I was definitely intimidated by the thought of this one. But it turns out it’s surprisingly easy! I used this recipe which only takes 20 mins (in theory: we all know cooking takes much longer with kids involved, right?). The best part is, your kids can pick their own toppings, meaning they’re far more likely to eat the finished product!


Have a picnic. Eating in the sunshine is a summer classic, of course, but why not make it more exciting this year? Make it fancy dress, or a teddy bears’ picnic, get the kids to decorate their own paper plates while you pack up the food, or plan a simple scavenger hunt of things they have to find on the way to the picnic spot.

Not out of the thick of it

calendar23 July 2020

Kiri Saunders's avatar Kiri Saunders

Not out of the thick of it

With lockdown finally easing, we can now visit restaurants and even spend a few nights away. It would almost appear that life is slowly starting to resemble normality, but sadly that’s not the case for everyone. At Christians Against Poverty (CAP) we are continuing to monitor trends and speak to clients, learning how the pandemic is impacting those on the lowest incomes. For some, things are starting to look up, but for many, there remains more tough times ahead. Craig, Ben and Jared (names have been changed) have all been impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19) in different ways and they bravely share their experiences below. 

The UK Prime Minister has insisted that he will do all he can to avoid a second national lockdown, but we know we're not out of the thick of it. For many, particularly those facing in-work poverty, there is uncertainty about future job security or only being able to work reduced hours. With no one expecting a quick economic recovery, more households are set to face these challenges in the future. 


Impact of furlough


‘Lockdown has been depressing. I’ve always worked, since I was 16. From 14 March, I’ve had no work. I got put on furlough so I’ve had about a £400 decrease in wages – I can’t pay anything towards my debts now. Also, I’ve not got the money to go shopping or get the stuff I need. The essentials you need have either run out or are too expensive. The shops where I usually go are closed, so you have to order online and pay shipping. It’s extra costs. I would usually get tips too, so my income has been drastically reduced. 

There are four of us in the house together all day instead of being at work or uni. It’s been stressful – we’re all used to not being at home at the same time.

As lockdown is easing, I’m due to go back to work, but part-time. It will take a while to go back to normal. Before, I was contracted to work 30 hours, but I usually do more like 40 to 50 hours a week depending on how busy it is. That’s an extra ten or more hours not covered in furlough, around £80/£90. It’s been a massive drop for me.’


Reduced hours


‘It’s not been too bad, I’ve been working a reduced number of days. I’m in one of these loopholes – our company became a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) last year, so the Government sees us as self-employed, although technically we are partners. As it only happened in the last year, we were not eligible for self-employed help or to be put on furlough. To economically survive as a company they put us effectively on a 2.5-day week and cancelled our bonuses. I’m on a 2.5-day week for the foreseeable future, until at least September. My wife is a teacher so she still has an income.

We have three children at home. One of my daughters works with me so her salary went down to half-time as well, so that affects what she can contribute to the family. My other two children are on zero-hour contracts so their work was cut.

Our grocery bills have gone up. Before, we would spend less, but because of lockdown and potentially the scarcity of some products, it’s gone up. It’s not too scary. It’s manageable. It’s not causing undue stress.

In effect, the impact has been in our reduced contributions to our CAP Plan. It’s frustrating as we had in sight being out of debt by May 2022 and now it’ll be two years after that. I’m sure we’ll find a way of recovering, but it may not be as quick as we'd like it to be.’ 




‘I have asthma and fibromyalgia so I’ve just been shielding. At first, I had no one to collect my medication. Then the council got in touch and arranged for someone to help. It’s been hit and miss. 

I’ve had the money to do everything I needed to do. But I have to put gas and electricity on my prepayment meter and I’ve still had to go out to do that. I’ve got anxiety and depression so that hasn’t been easy. I’ve also had a problem with one company about my debts. All the way through this crisis they’ve been shouting for the money through letters. I phoned up and I explained my circumstances, but they weren’t really interested. Luckily, I’ve recently gone debt free. The help from CAP has really helped lift a weight off my shoulders.’

With advice to shield in our homes set to end on 1 August, many who have health vulnerabilities will be expected to go back to work and re-enter society. The virus will not have gone away by 1 August, but the financial support for those who are trying to protect themselves will. Those who are fearful of contracting the virus due to health conditions may be faced with difficult decisions, particularly around going into work. 


What is CAP doing about it?

The UK is slowly starting to establish a ‘new normal’. From 23 August, enforcement action is due to restart, yet many are still surviving on benefits or reduced incomes. That’s why, amongst other things, CAP is calling for Local Authorities to adopt a pre-action protocol for Council Tax, building in more steps to help identify households who are struggling financially or who are vulnerable, before enforcing a debt. 

Debt advice will be needed more than ever in the coming months and years. The Money and Pensions Service predicts that need for debt help in the UK will increase by 60% by the end of 2021. If you support CAP financially, we’d like to thank you for your generosity. Your support means we can help people across the UK who are living under the overwhelming weight of debt and poverty. If you’d like to start supporting CAP or increase your monthly donation, you can find out more at Thank you – we couldn’t do it without you. 

Your church, post pandemic

calendar19 July 2020

Claire Wong's avatar Claire Wong

Your church, post pandemic

How has your church responded to the pandemic?

We couldn’t be prouder of our network of churches for the amazing way they’ve shown care to their local communities. Now, as we look ahead to the longer term impacts of coronavirus, we want to support UK churches as they help people rebuild and get back on track.

That’s why we’ve created Kick Start. Kick Start is our response to the needs we know are going to exist in communities like yours.

It’s a series of bitesize video sessions to help people in your community to move forward in life. 


What does it cover?

We’re looking at both the practical needs that are emerging from the pandemic, and also the emotional impact. So you’ll find sessions on:

  • Searching for jobs
  • Living well on a budget
  • Healthy habits
  • Worry
  • Coping with loss


How does it work?

Since the start of lockdown, we’ve all seen the huge opportunity that online community provides to the Church. People who would never normally connect have tried out a church service for the first time, from the comfort of their own home. Those who can’t go out easily have been able to attend groups to talk and pray together.

Kick Start makes the most of this new chapter in the UK church’s experience. All the sessions are designed to be run online (or face to face, once that's possible again). We provide short videos that you can share to get conversation sparked. Then it’s over to you to chat through the issues and practical tips raised.

You don’t need to use all nine sessions, just pick the ones most relevant to your community right now.

Our hope is that you’ll come away not only having helped people through some tough challenges, but also having built a lasting supportive community.


Can my church run Kick Start?

We’d love for your church to run Kick Start. Even if you’ve never run a CAP service before, you’re welcome to take part in this. We’ve made the whole resource free, so that as many people as possible can access it.

Kick Start will be ready to launch on 20 July. If you’re a church leader, sign up now to have access to all the resources as soon as they go live.


Kick Start is a pint-sized powerhouse – succinct yet potent in its ability to help people find their footing in a mid- and post-pandemic world.

Who would have thought?

calendar16 July 2020

Peter Snell's avatar Peter Snell

When I first heard that my dad was doing Facebook live sermons for his church, I have to admit I was slightly sceptical. He only started using text messages recently!

Perhaps, like me, you had your doubts about how churches across the UK would adapt to ‘church online’. Early incidents involving clergy, candles and flammable jumpers certainly gave us a giggle as we began to embrace this new way of meeting together.

However, amidst the shadowy lighting and crackling audio, something pretty incredible has been happening. Since lockdown began:

  • Around 3 million people who had never been to a religious service have tuned in to one digitally (on the radio, live TV, streamed online or on demand)
  • One in 20 UK adults who didn’t pray before have been praying
  • A quarter of UK adults have watched or listened to a religious service (that’s over 52.4 million people!). This is a dramatic increase from the usual 5-7%!

We also asked over 100 churches how they were getting on, and found that an incredible 98% had established some kind of online presence. Many even said their ‘digital congregations’ were much larger than their usual Sunday attendance.

Praise God - what a unique opportunity we have in this season, to share the gospel and show God’s love to our communities in such creative, meaningful and beautiful ways.

You could say that closing our buildings has opened the doors of our churches to a whole new audience. Amidst everything going on, that is something to celebrate!

If you have been involved in church service planning – you’ve done an amazing job!

Why not let us give you a hand over the next few months? CAP is now offering free digital talks (pre-recorded or live streamed) helping your church respond to the impact of COVID-19 on the poorest in our community.

With key scriptures and real-life stories of transformation, your church will be inspired by God's heart for the poor and how they can make a difference.

To access these free resources just fill out this simple form!

Five minutes with… a Life Changer

calendar03 July 2020

Hannah Sanford's avatar Hannah Sanford

Five minutes with… a Life Changer

Did you know that we have an amazing group of over 30,000 people who give to CAP every single month? We call them Life Changers because without their generosity we wouldn't see our clients go debt-free and their lives restored.

What's it like to be a Life Changer, I hear you ask? Look no further. We spoke to Hannah Kunar to find out why and how she has chosen to support CAP.


Hi Hannah! Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm married with two kids, work from home as a Freelance Graphic Designer and I love chocolate and a cup of Yorkshire Tea.

How did you hear about CAP?

I first heard about CAP when my brother-in-law started working for them. He gave me John Kirkby's book, Nevertheless, and I honestly couldn't put it down! I was captivated by his journey that led him to start Christians Against Poverty to help others out of debt.

How long have you been a Life Changer?

I've supported CAP now for over 8 years.

Why did you choose to support CAP?

A few years ago, I had the incredible privilege to work for CAP as a Graphic Designer in their creative media department. During my time at head office, I was given the amazing opportunity to go on a client visit. It opened my eyes to see the devastating effect debt has on a person, and in some cases, their families. To see how CAP's front-line operated was nothing but pure compassion, genuine love and professionalism. I was never the same after that. Over my four years at CAP, I heard countless stories week after week of people whose lives had been forever changed, not just through becoming debt free but also in finding Jesus.. how amazing is that?!

What has your experience of being a Life Changer been like?

I love receiving anything from CAP! I always feel thanked and appreciated for what I give on a monthly basis and the best part is knowing that it's making a real difference through reading stories of lives that have been changed, which is my favourite part of all! It's great to be updated on how many people have become debt free each month and to know where the money goes is really helpful seeing how CAP operates. I also need to say how much I love the design and content of all CAP's communication. It's always so friendly, informative and approachable. Keep up the great work!


Like the sound of helping see lives transformed and getting to hear the difference your support is making in people's lives? Why not join our 30,000 other regular givers by becoming a Life Changer today?

Become a Life Changer

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