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Get into Summer 2021 evaluation: parents omnibus survey - report

Get into Summer 2021 evaluation – parents omnibus survey.


This report provides an overview of findings from a survey of parents' experiences of low-cost or free organised summer activities for children. The aim of the research was to better understand how and for how long families are engaging with holiday activities, why families are engaging with activities and barriers to participation.

This forms part of a wider evaluation, which also involves a qualitative review of progress reports and in-depth conversations with parents and children. This report is being published alongside the qualitative evaluation of the Get into Summer offer to provide a quantitative analysis of the reach of and participation in low-cost activities by children in Scotland offered through the funding.


Get into Summer is a package of support offered by the Scottish Government to support children and young people to socialise, play and reconnect. In March 2021, £20 million of funding was announced to support an enhanced summer activity offer for children and young people. Of the total amount, £15 million was made available to local authorities and £5 million to national organisations directly.

The fund recognised the 'holiday experience gap' where children and young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds are disadvantaged during the school holidays. Children from low income families are less likely to participate in organised out-of-school activities, more likely to experience 'unhealthy holidays' in terms of nutrition and physical health and to experience social isolation. The programme came at a time when evidence was highlighting the continuing and persisting effects of the pandemic on anxiety and stress among children and young people, and lower levels of mental wellbeing among parents with young children.

The main aim of the Get into Summer programme was to mitigate the negative social and mental health impacts of the pandemic on children and young people through providing opportunities to socialise, play and reconnect. The programme also aimed to support children and young people in their transitions back to the classroom post-holidays. Local authorities and delivery partners were given freedom to organise and provide activities best suited to their areas but it was expected that the scheme would fund a very wide range of activities, including sports, arts, cultural activities, and spending time in nature.

The funding was primarily intended to support key target groups, including those identified in the Scottish Government's Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan as most at risk of poverty. It also enabled universal opportunities which were open to and able to benefit all children and young people. Key priority groups for the targeted provision included:

  • Children from low-income households
  • Families with a disabled child or adult, or child with Additional Support Needs (ASN)
  • Children from families who had been shielding during the pandemic
  • Minority ethnic families
  • Children and young people with care experience
  • Young carers
  • Larger families (with three or more children)
  • Young mothers (aged under 25)
  • Families with children under one
  • Children in need of protection
  • Children supported by a child's plan

Aims and objectives

The aim of the quantitative element of the evaluation research was to provide information on:

  • The reach and levels of participation in free or low-cost organised summer activities by children in Scotland
  • Motivations and barriers to participation
  • Benefits experienced by children from participating in free or low-cost organised summer activities and
  • Benefits experienced by parents from their child participating in free or low-cost organised summer activities

The research considered these objectives for parents across Scotland as a whole but also where possible aimed to consider and draw out variations in the reach and experiences of summer activities by sub-groups of Scottish parents and children. For example, differences that arose between respondents of different income levels, household type, employment status and Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD).


The Scottish Parents Omnibus survey, run by Ipsos MORI, interviews over the phone a representative sample of parents of children in Scotland aged 0-18. Fieldwork was carried out between 1 November and 2 December 2021, around 3 months after the Get into Summer programme was delivered. A total sample of 1,004 responses was achieved. The data was weighted by age of parent, working status, SIMD classification and age of child to match the Scottish population profile.

As the survey was going out to a sample of parents taking part in the omnibus, it was not possible to focus questions specifically on free or low-cost organised summer activities which had taken place directly as a result of Get in to Summer funding. Therefore, while the qualitative evaluation involved parents and children who were direct participants of activities funded by Get into Summer, the analysis included in this report is focused on any free or low-cost organised summer activities more generally. Given that the survey questions were asked about summer 2021 however, it can be expected that many of the activities included in responses were in fact part of the fund, and where they are not they still provide useful learning on experiences across the types of activities the programme offered.

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