Fun activities and healthy food for children and young people over the school holidays

13 July 2021

Cheshire West and Chester Council is working with local partners to ensure that children and young people in the borough have access to healthy food and fun activities over the summer holidays. 

The Government’s Holiday Activities and Food programme (HAF), which is backed by the Child Food Poverty Taskforce and supported by footballer Marcus Rashford MBE, has provided funding for provision across the borough to cover the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays in 2021.
During the Easter Holidays 4,953 children and young people accessed holiday provision in the borough, provided by 33 providers who were funded by the Department for Education’s HAF programme.

The holiday programme is targeted to support children and young people who have been most affected by the pandemic, offering a safe and supportive environment where they can learn, be active and eat well, as well as make new friends locally.

The Council is working with a range of partners, including Brio Leisure, Edsential and their own Youth Service to provide the provision locally to ensure there is a wide range of activities available for all ages and abilities.

The holiday activity clubs will provide healthy meals and snacks and a range of fun activities, such as yoga, skateboarding, swimming courses, forest schools, hair dressing and arts and crafts for youngsters to try out. 

In addition, seven organisations have been funded to deliver specific HAF provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) with lots of fun activities on offer, from sports to arts and crafts, and science to mindfulness.

Food support continues to be available for all residents all year round, including during the school holidays, through the Council-backed Welcome Network. 

Local community groups, currently providing food and support across the borough, have been mapped on the Welcome Network website, so that residents can access the information in one place.  A full list of all the support available to families during the summer holidays, including the holiday activity clubs and community food offer, can be found on the Council website. Details about the Covid Local Support Scheme is included on the web page. Funding from the grant scheme has been provided to local schools to be used over the school holidays to help families who have children that receive benefit related free school meals.

Councillor Bob Cernik, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “The holiday activity clubs that are funded through the HAF scheme ensure that children and young people have the opportunity to enjoy and learn new skills over the school holidays, whilst making new friends and most importantly having fun. 

"Providing healthy and tasty meals for children and young people is really important for their wellbeing and development.  In addition, those attending the sessions get the opportunity to learn about food and nutrition in a fun and active way, setting them up for a healthy future so they can achieve their best.”
 
In late 2020, the Council declared a Poverty Emergency. The Council continues to be committed to tackling poverty in all its forms across Cheshire West and Chester.

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