Summer holidays are a privilege that many families will never be able to afford

Summer holidays make for good bonding time. But it is important to remember that for many they are out of reachMike Towse

I remember my school summer holidays fondly. We never had really extravagant holidays but we did always go somewhere: a cottage in the Lake District, camping in Devon (generally in the rain) or when we were older a fortnight in the south of France. I loved hanging out with my family (mostly), ice-creams, fish and chips, hikes in the mountains, outdoor swimming pools and being allowed to go bed really late.

The summer can be about memory-making, forming deeper bonds and instagramable beach shots, and that's a beautiful and brilliant thing. But we'd be wrong to think it's the same for everybody.

Now I live on an estate in the inner city and summer holidays for most people there mean something very different.

The summer is about keeping your kids out of trouble and stretching your measly income to cover every meal. It's about trying to explain to your children why they can't go on holiday/go to the beach/go the cinema/go out for dinner (delete as appropriate) because the bathroom's flooded again/the rent's gone up/your benefits have been delayed/your maintenance money hasn't come through or just because you simply don't and never have been paid enough to do more than just survive.

For most families around here, the summer holidays signal six long, stressful weeks of keeping the children safe, entertained and fed. In a city like London, even going to the cinema or enrolling the children into the local activity club can be an extravagance that most can't afford. And without free school meals and breakfast clubs, keeping children properly fed can also become a real burden for parents and carers.

For those working there is the constant issue of round-the-clock childcare, with children being constantly passed between friends and family. We've encountered young people who can't go home until 11pm because that's when their parents get back from work and others who have to stay inside all night by themselves while their parent(s) do night shifts.

We as the Church need to act courageously and break down the walls of our established networks and buildings.

Throw into this mix, living in an area known for its gang violence, and you might begin to piece together how young people start getting themselves into trouble. I've lived on estates long enough to know that things always start to kick off during the Easter holidays, just as the nights are getting longer. That's when the riot van turns up, that's when you hear the arguments happening, that's when you read about the first teenager being shot or stabbed round the corner. Things hot up in the summer in the city: boredom, frustration and anger are a toxic mix when you haven't left your territory for weeks.

I used to live on an estate in north London where I helped out with a children's club during the summer. One week of making stuff, playing games, dressing up in ridiculous outfits, getting drenched in water fights, singing silly songs and general bedlam. What I loved about it was watching children being given the freedom to be children, to run around and scream at the top of their voices. For so many of the children who were never going to have a holiday, this was the highlight of their summer. To me, it always felt like a slice of heaven appearing on our often troubled patch: laughter, friendship, love championing over fear and boundaries being broken down with every custard pie splattered in a vicar's face.

For those in inner-cities, summer holidays often mean keeping children safe, busy and fedFacebook/Oasis Waterloo

The children and young people living all around me are experiencing a summer completely different to my childhood memories. Once again I'm disturbed by the difference and division. Yet if the summer is about anything wherever you live, whatever your background, it's about opportunity. We as the Church need to act courageously and break down the walls of our established networks and buildings.

There are already hundreds of holiday clubs run by churches all over the country – could you get involved with one, or set your own one up next year? What about hosting a BBQ in a park or for those of us in cities – a patch of green, near where you live? Could you go out of your way to make sure it's not just church kids who attend but those who haven't been out of the house much this summer? Could we step over some of our man-made divisions and start to encounter the diversity of all God made in his image? Maybe God is calling us to something bigger, to speak out about some of the structural injustices which cause such huge inequalities in our country, like campaigning for a wider implementation of the living wage. Maybe it's about listening to stories different from our own; or to walk, pray and connect with the other side of town, the part that people tell you never to go to.

It could get messy (it probably will), it will be tough (most of the time) and heartbreaking (some of the time) but we might start to see those slices of heaven, those splatters of glory. And you can't ask for much more in your summer, than that.