Coronavirus: Parents and Families

We understand that parenting can be challenging at the best of times and the Covid-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented pressure on parents and families.  Some nurseries, childminders and primary schools have now reopened, however you may still be juggling your work with your childcare responsibilities or be worried about home schooling and the effects of self-isolation; whatever your circumstances Racing Welfare is here to support you 24 hours a day.  We can provide you with practical information and guidance or even just a listening ear when things are getting tough.

Racing Welfare 'Return to School' Grants

Racing Welfare have recently announced it will be providing 'Return to School' grants to ease the financial burden on the racing industry's families. The grant will be awarded at £100 per child up to a maximum of four children per family. The grants are available to those who currently work (or who have lost their job/work due to Coronavirus) in the thoroughbred racing and breeding industries and who have dependent, school age children (4-18 years). This grant is awarded:

• To assist with return to school expenses such as uniform and educational equipment.

• To prevent financial difficulties for families with dependent school age children. 

To be eligible for support, parents must be working or be self-employed in the industry for a minimum of one year, or have lost their job or work or be on furlough, within the last year.  Furthermore, they must be living on or below the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Minimum Income Standard and be in receipt of Child Benefit.  The window for grant applications will be open until 30th September 2020 (or sooner if all available funds are used before this date). Visit our grants page for more information

Continuing to work with children at home

In the current climate you may be concerned about keeping your job, especially if you are no longer able to go into work as you have to care for your child.  If you have to stay at home, make sure you talk to your employer about the government’s job retention scheme, which has now be extended.  You can also now access the full range of the welfare system, and apply for these online rather than visiting a job centre.  Remember that in racing, you are never alone; you can discuss any concerns about your employment situation with a member of our team 24/7 or contact NARS

Free School Meals

We know that many people rely on free school meals and you may be concerned about how you could still access this support. The Government has put a programme in place to ensure that if your child was receiving free school meals before the school closures came into place, that support will still be available.  This support has now been extended to continue throughout the summer holidays.  Schools will be ordering vouchers directly from supermarkets and shops in your area that will be emailed or posted to you.  You might also fund it useful to read more on Benefits.

Home schooling

Some primary schools have now reopened to children in Reception, Years 1and Year 6, however many children continue to face a disrupted education and as a parent you may find yourself in a position where you are trying to educate your child from home, perhaps whilst also trying to continue to work. Your child’s school will provide you with lots of useful guidance and links to help you but it is important to remember that no one is expecting you to be a fully qualified teacher with knowledge of the whole curriculum. Remember that while learning is important, at this time of unprecedented uncertainty, so are family activities, such as having fun and playing in the garden.  Here are a few other ideas:

  • Why not share your love of horses and racing with your child? Explain what is involved in taking care of a racehorse or research the history of the Aintree Grand National or the Epsom Derby.
  • Playing board games and baking or gardening together can also be invaluable.
  • Encourage your child to read; World Book Online, who have 3,000 e-books as well as audiobooks, and the audiobook service Audible, have both made thousands of children’s books free for the duration of school closures.
  • Doing some physical exercise everyday will benefit the whole family. Why not try joining in with an online workout?

Talking with children about the Coronavirus

As news of the Coronavirus takes over our everyday lives it is natural that children may start to worry about themselves, their family or their friends getting ill. This may be particularly true if you are still having to go into work and are not able to self-isolate. As a parent you can play an important role in helping your child understand what they are hearing in a way that can minimise their anxiety. It is helpful to talk to your child honestly but calmly about what is happening. You do not need to know all the answers but talking to your child in an age appropriate manner can help them feel calm and reassured. Limiting the amount of screen time that is focused on COVID-19 may help to reduce any anxiety. It can also help to give your child some practical tips for how they can look after themselves. For example, show them how to wash their hands properly and remind them to cough or sneeze into a tissue and then throw it away. Remember that supporting your child can be tough and stressful and it is important to look after yourself too. Practising self-care will help you care for your whole family. Get more information on how to talk to children here.

Get Support Now

We are here for you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you feel the coronavirus outbreak has affected your family, do not hesitate to get in touch.

You can contact us in the following ways:

Useful Links

Was this answer helpful?
Your rating has been submitted; please tell us how we can make this answer more useful.