Thousands of eligible children and families supported through summer holiday clubs

Essex ActivAte

More than 200 holiday activity clubs offered 100,000 spaces for young people across Essex and Thurrock this summer.

A range of exciting activities supported children to get moving more and make memories. Activities included green and blue space visits, inflatable days, boxing, roller-skating, slime making, arts, crafts and so much more to keep children engaged across the five-week break.

The holiday activity and food programme (HAF) is run by Active Essex, Essex County Council and Thurrock Council, on behalf of the Department for Education. HAF is for children who receive benefit based free school meals or come from ‘low-income’ working households, and young people take part in a range of physical and enrichment activities, as well as receive a free meal.

From our parent survey, the impact of the summer programme is evident as families explained their children benefitted the most from being out of the house, socialising with others in a safe environment and taking part in physical activity.

A parent from Colchester told us: “My children loved attending clubs this summer! They’ve been given opportunities to try a great range of new activities, and for us, it gives some structure to their days and allows them to stay active, engage with other children and keep them busy. It’s massively helped with their emotional wellbeing, as it gives them something to look forward too – we could never afford these clubs through the summer, so it’s wonderful they have the chance to go!”

Local authorities, councillors, and members of the Department for Education visited clubs, to speak with children and providers to truly understand the importance and need for the programme, due to the continuous increase of living costs.

Cllr McKinlay, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Levelling Up explained: “I’ve loved visiting so many of the holiday activity and food programme clubs this summer and before. Every one of them offers something different, from puppet shows to bouncy castles, arts and crafts to DJ sessions. It’s really important that we are able to offer this vital and varied support to families and young people, providing them with exciting new opportunities and giving them an experience to remember. It also enables parents from low incomes to continue to work more easily over the holiday periods.”

Essex ActivAte have not only supported young people to get active but have increased their offer wider to young adults through Leaders In Training (LIT) and parents through the ECC Multiply Programme, provided by Clarion. Parents have gained maths support with Multiply alongside Essex County Council to help with budgeting, finances and children’s homework. Partners have been supported by Ministry Of Food with Jamie Oliver to educate families about healthy foods and how to cook on a budget. The Leaders In Training (LIT) programme has offered young people the opportunity to gain experience in community sport settings to develop and enhance their skills for their future.

The support does not stop there. Bookings for October half term will go live on Monday 25th September at 12pm midday on the Essex ActivAte website.

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