Council and community work together to provide holiday activities for thousands of children and young people
6 September 2021
Over 4000 children and young people from across Cheshire East, many eligible for free school meals, have enjoyed hundreds of free holiday activities over the summer.
The activities were funded by the government’s Holiday Activity Programme, coordinated by Cheshire East Council and delivered by 40 community organisations, charities and schools in nearly 80 locations.
The aim of the programme is to ensure that vulnerable children and young people eat more healthily, are more active over the school holidays, learn about health nutrition and enjoy time with other children in a safe environment.
£880,000 was made available to Cheshire East Council by the Department for Education to coordinate free holiday activities including the provision of healthy meals.
The programme is one way the council has been helping children and families in need during the pandemic. Over 65,000 supermarket and utility bill vouchers have also been distributed to families, funded by the government’s Covid support grant.
Feedback from parents and carers on the holiday activities has been extremely positive.
One parent of two children with special educational needs and disabilities said: “Thank you for having this as an option for us. Having a weekly club over the summer that is inclusive is fantastic and gives me a much-needed break - and the boys love it!”
Another said: “Thank you so much for these clubs, we can’t wait to get there, it is even better knowing that breakfast is provided and there will be snacks to accommodate all food allergies.”
Feedback from the children has also been brilliant. One child said: “I loved the games day. Twister and Uno were my favourite. I have never played them before.” Another said: “The soup we made, was the best soup ever!”
Ali Stathers-Tracey, director of early help and prevention at Cheshire East Council, said: “We recognise that school holidays can be particular pressure points for some families because of increased costs, such as food and childcare and reduced income. We also know that Covid has disproportionately affected some of our most vulnerable children and families.
“Hearing the positive feedback on the programme is so lovely to hear and I’d like to thank everyone involved in coming together to support our children and young people over the summer. As we begin to recover from this awful pandemic, it’s been a joy to see, first-hand, children having fun, making new friends and enjoying a healthy meal.”
More information can be found on the Holiday Activities and Food Programme page.