Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Barclays Reveals Financial Concerns of the Nation’s Parents

- 8 out of 10 mums and dads are fretting about their finances over the next 12 months -

- Cost of family holiday biggest cause of concern

- Kate Garraway gives 5 top tips to get family finances on track -

Around eight in ten parents (82%) of children aged 18 and under are concerned about what they can afford in the year ahead, with the top worry for a third of parents being able to afford a family holiday². The research has been revealed in the new Barclays Your Bank report³, looking at parents’ attitudes to managing their finances and money management concerns.

However, while parents’ financial concerns may make them feel like they need a degree to handle day-to-day household finances, the report reveals that many are overlooking the fact that they already possess valuable business nous to run their home. The Your Bank report reveals that one solution to help parents better manage their finances is to adopt a business brain. 

Kate Garraway, Ambassador for Barclays Your Bank report said, “The Your Bank report found that many, many parents are really worried about their finances. However it’s clear that the more we bury our heads in the sand, the more worried we become. It’s not surprising that keeping track of our finances is not always a priority given our busy lives and in some cases aversion to financial planning. But the research actually found that our working lives have taught us a great many skills that when applied in the home, could really help.

With more than 7 million⁴ parents (56 per cent) admitting their family budget is under more strain than it was  in July 2012, the Barclays Your Bank reports shows that these problems are exacerbated among parents with more than one child in the household (58%).  In addition, parents are still fretting in the longer term (July 2015 onwards), with parents worried about how they will send their children to university (28 per cent), save enough into a pension (25 per cent) and pay off their mortgage (22 per cent).

Kate Garraway continues “In addition to our apparent business acumen and transferable skills, there are a number of great tools and services out there to help get financial planning firmly back on the family agenda. What’s more, the nation can now share its ideas on what would make their everyday money management easier at”.

1. All aboard! Get the family together and assess your outgoings from the past year and the year ahead. It’s important to understand the whole family’s needs and ambitions – whether that’s a school trip or a new family iPad. Taking time out as a family can help you to balance essentials and luxuries and most importantly – keep everyone happy!

2. Know your budget – It’s all too easy to spend subconsciously but track your income and expenditure doesn’t have to be a time consuming chore.  Find out what free tools and services your bank has on offer to help you manage a monthly family budget and before you know it you’ll be able to spot any unused direct debits and non-essential spend.

3. Get online – Check out what the internet has to offer to keep on top of family finances from easy to use money saving tools to budget planners to help you keep track of your spending. Most banks now also offer free online or mobile banking services so you can quickly access up to date information on the go. Free text alerts are also a great way to help stay one step ahead of going into the red, so you no longer have to worry!

4. Market research - collect prices online on your everyday shopping and longer-term purchases, such as insurance.  Retailers are constantly looking to attract new customers through offers and search engines, so shop around. To save even more time and money, check out price comparison sites for the most competitive offers.

5. Get the best deal - assess where your family spends the most money and start making some essential changes, from switching electricity supplier to moving to PAYG.  It’s all about what you actually need and use. Don’t forget to haggle, there is often room for more savings to be made as well as ‘price – match’ deals. Why not make it into a playful competition and give out a prize for the family member who finds the biggest money savings?

The Barclays Your Bank report is published as Barclays launches a new commitment to listen to customers and make changes.  For more information visit  and follow #YourBank on Twitter for the latest updates.

Here's the link to see the full video with Kate Garraway

Sunday, 15 September 2013


Dave Gibson, sleep expert at London bed makers Warren Evans shares his sleep adjustment tips to help parents avoid the bedtime battle as the new term begins. “It’s likely that you are facing two issues when it comes to settling children back in to their usual sleep pattern for school. The first is that the brighter summer nights naturally encourage us to go to bed later (as we would have done prehistorically). The second is that you have probably let the normal bedtime curfew relax in the summer holidays and thus they are getting to bed later, and probably getting up later too.

Getting children back into their normal sleep cycle is vital in terms of making sure they get enough sleep, Recommendations from the National Bed Foundation in USA suggests that children from 5-11 years of age need 10-11 hours and from 11-17 need between 8 ∏ and 9 π hours. However, all kids are different and typically you know your child is getting enough sleep when it’s easy for them to wake up refreshed in the morning.

It’s been shown that children with chronic sleep deprivation are more likely to have difficulties learning, paying attention, and are even more likely to be overweight.

The following tips will help you get your child back into the correct routine and hopefully keep them sleeping well and for the correct amount of time.

1)   Adjust bedtime by 15 minutes each day until you reach the ideal time.  Once in this pattern it’s important to keep to the same time even at weekends.

2)   Make it easier for them to ease into night-time, reduce light towards the end of the day, tilting blinds and keep off any bright overhead lights.

3)   Develop a routine of 30 to 45 minutes of calm activities before bed, which can be repeated in the same order such as a bath or reading a story to cue your child’s mind that it is bedtime. One study in America showed that reading as part of a sleep routine got children to sleep faster and they had a better quality of sleep once asleep.

4)   Help them to switch off by limiting the amount of technology in the evening. Don’t let them use TV’s, mobiles, laptops and tablets within an hour of bed as our eyes are sensitive to the ‘blue-light’ they produce which affects our body clock and keeps us awake.

5)   Create the right environment in the bedroom by having it set up for good sleep, which is dark, quiet, and cool. Lower body temperatures indicate to the body that it is night-time (i.e. the sun has gone) however have extra blankets on hand in case they get cold in the night.

6)   Don’t allow mobile phones in the bedroom. One study of children between 13 and 16 found that 62% of them used their mobile phones in bed, and that even those who used phones in bed less than once a week doubled their chance that they would feel tired the next day.

7)   Get your kids to exercise more in the day, as it reduces the time it takes to get to sleep and increases the total time we sleep, although make sure it’s finished about 2 hours before bed, to allow time to settle down.

8)   Avoid heavy meals before bedtime and avoid caffeine; both will keep your child awake. If your child is allowed caffeinated drinks they should be avoided within six hours of bed.

9)   As soon as your child awakes try to encourage them to get out of bed and into bright light or opening the curtains as soon as possible. This quickly adjusts their melatonin levels and will make it far easier for them to get to sleep in the evening at the right time.

10) Finally, set an example by having your own sleep schedule that you stick to, and don’t try to catch up on sleep at the weekends as it is important that you all maintain your schedules throughout the week.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Local legs needed for Brighton Marathon

LOCAL legs are needed for the Brighton Marathon 2014 to help Meningitis UK/Meningitis Trust stamp out the deadly disease.

The national charity is urging people to take on Britain’s no. 2 marathon (after London) on Sunday, April 6.

Meningitis UK/Trust has 15 guaranteed places available for the event, which will see more than 18,000 participants, and independent runners can choose to lace up for the charity.

Full support will be given before and after the epic 26.2-mile challenge and runners receive a free running vest or T-shirt and information pack on how to prepare.

Meningitis UK/Trust South and South East community fundraiser Kelly Jobanputra said: “We hope locals will lace up for this fledgling challenge for us, so we can fight the dreaded disease on all fronts.
“Every penny our runners raise will help fund cutting-edge research to eradicate meningitis, support those touched by the disease and raise lifesaving awareness.”

The merged charity needs to raise over £10,000 every day to fund its life-saving and life-changing services.

Tragically, meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia continue to affect thousands of people in the UK every year and kill more children under five than any other infectious disease.

Meningitis can strike with incredible speed and the symptoms are notoriously difficult to detect, often being confused with flu.

To sign up or for more information, call Kelly Jobanputra on 0845 120 4766 or email

Sunday, 8 September 2013



I CAN, the children’s communication charity, has launched their 13th Chatterbox Challenge event, the annual singalong for children in early years settings across the UK. With sponsorship from Openreach and TTS, and the continued support of Humf from the popular children’s TV show, I CAN are calling on parents and carers to encourage their child’s early years setting to register to make this year’s event the best yet.

Chatterbox Challenge: Sounds like fun with Humf develops the communication skills of children under 5 through songs and rhymes based on sounds, noises and even silence to highlight the difficulties faced by 1.2 million children in the UK with their speech, language and communication.

Children are sponsored to perform in front of families and carers and, thanks to the support of Openreach and TTS, the funds raised will enable I CAN to help more children who struggle to communicate and express themselves.

Chatterbox Challenge Week, when the majority of events will be held, is 10-16th February 2014. Early years groups are encouraged to register now online ( to receive their free Chatterbox Challenge fundraising pack.

The activities in the pack are linked to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and will develop a range of skills including attention and listening, one of the early learning goals.

Virginia Beardshaw, I CAN Chief Executive said, “The Chatterbox Challenge is a firm favourite in the early years calendar, when children under 5 learn nursery rhymes and take part in activities aimed at making them confident communicators. We are grateful to Openreach, TTS and Humf for their support in making this year’s event bigger than ever before.

 “The vital funds raised by children, their families and early years settings help I CAN in our work to support the 1.2 million children in the UK who have communication difficulties. We hope parents and carers will encourage their early years settings to register online and save Chatterbox Challenge Week in the diary.”

Liv Garfield, Chief Executive, Openreach, said, “Communication is at the heart of the Openreach business and we know how important it is for children to develop good communication skills to succeed in life. This is our seventh year sponsoring I CAN’s Chatterbox Challenge as part of our ‘First Mile’ programme. The Chatterbox Challenge is an engaging way for young children to develop their communication skills whilst helping raise vital funds for children who struggle with speaking and understanding. Openreach believe that by sponsoring the Chatterbox Challenge, more children will receive the help they need to get the best start in life.”

Catherine Jeffrey, Deputy MD, TTS Group Ltd said, “TTS are focused on providing quality, educational resources to early years settings. With children at the centre of everything we do, it is great to be involved with I CAN and the Chatterbox Challenge – helping children across the UK to develop their communication skills. With TTS vouchers and a nursery kit out to be won, we hope many early years groups will register and fundraise for a chance to win.”

Rebecca Harvey, Head of Marketing from Entertainment One said, “We’re delighted that Humf will once again be featured on a range of activities that will engage children on this very important issue and drive support for this year’s Challenge.”

Chatterbox Challenge: Sounds like fun with Humf activities have been written by I CAN speech and language therapists and teachers and activities are linked to the EYFS prime areas Communication and Language and Personal, Social and Emotional Development. The Challenge activities can be used with all children, including those with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).

Speech, language and communication are crucial for reading, learning in school, for socialising and making friends, and for understanding and expressing emotions or feelings. 1.2 million children in the UK have long-term difficulties with their speech, language and communication and will need extra support. Chatterbox Challenge: Sounds like fun with Humf raises vital funds for I CAN’s work with children with SLCN.

Chatterbox Challenge: Sounds like fun with Humf week is 10-16th February 2014 but groups can also hold their Challenge at any time convenient to them. Groups are encouraged to register online today at