Essex ActivAte supports Basildon families over the festive season

Essex ActivAte

What a fantastic, festive, winter holidays Essex ActivAte had! From ice-skating to winter wonderland experiences, festive parties, Christmas arts and crafts, cooking and baking, delicious hot chocolate and so much more for eligible youngsters across Essex and Thurrock. At Christmas, the programme aims to give families magical experiences, so youngsters feel like they aren’t missing out, and can then share memories with others.

Over in Basildon, South Essex Family Centre received funding from HAF to provide a memorable, festive experience for vulnerable families. They held a remarkable Christmas party, which included a hot lunch, free drinks and snacks throughout the session. A range of fun activities were also included such as festive games, face painting, arts and crafts, cooking and a photo booth for families to capture a snapshot and remember the day! Santa took time out of his busy schedule to engage with the children who also received a free gift, and they finished the event with dancing, Christmas tunes and a snow machine, really bringing the winter weather to life inside! One child explained how “this was the best Christmas party ever!”

A social worker who attended with three vulnerable families thanked the centre: “Just wanted to say a big thank you to you and all of your team for all the time, planning and efforts in arranging the Christmas party and making it a fun filled time. My 3 families that came all commented on how they had a lovely time and were very grateful for their hampers and gifts. Well done everyone!”

To allow as many eligible families as possible to experience the magical occasion, two sessions were offered, running for over two and a half hours, which 20 families booked on for each session.

Our delivery partners and Active Essex team work extremely hard to ensure eligible children and young people have a safe, warm space where they can get active, socialise with others, make memories and enjoy a nutritious, hot meal.

A volunteer who helped run the event also explained: “The Christmas event was such a delight to volunteer at. It was so well organised, and the team had clearly put a huge amount of effort into making their budget stretch as far as possible to give a truly memorable day for the families (and the volunteers). Everyone clearly had a brilliant time, and you could tell how much it meant to the staff to be able to give that experience. I’m already looking forward to next year!

The volunteers went on to tell us that ‘they felt privileged’ to run this event and are ‘so grateful for the grant’. We look forward to welcoming them back to the HAF 2023 programme this year, as well as many other providers who wish to support eligible families across Essex and Thurrock.

To express your interest in becoming a HAF 2023 provider, please email by Friday February 10th.