Thousands of youngsters in Stoke will enjoy healthy food and fun times this summer.
The city council’s partnership with the Hubb Foundation will continue for the next two years, meaning lots more will be able to enjoy sport, arts and crafts and cookery.
It follows a competitive procurement exercise to decide who will deliver the service.
School holidays can be difficult for some families due to spiralling costs and reduced incomes. Some children are more likely to experience ‘unhealthy holidays’ in terms of nutrition and physical health and some from lower-income families are less likely to access fun activities.
More than 40,000 opportunities were created for children and young people last year during the previous Easter, summer and Christmas holidays.
A £1,483,380 cash boost from the Department for Education (DfE) will help fund the service this year.
Councillor Dave Evans, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “Our partnership with the Hubb Foundation, delivered an incredibly successful HAF scheme in 2021. Over 4,000 school-aged pupils took part in our summer programme alone, accessing between them around 40,000 individual opportunities – and free meals were provided at each of these.
“I’m delighted that we will be able to continue our partnership with the Hubb Foundation to build on our previous success and improve our HAF offer so our young people benefit further. We want to develop stronger relationships with broader family support so the whole family can benefit.”
“At a time when many families are struggling financially, the free activities mean children can try new experiences.”
Local businesses supported the programme in 2021, including Port Vale FC, Stoke City FC, Alton Towers, Water World and Chester Zoo. Similar support from a range of firms is also expected as the programme is taken forward this year.
Adam Yates, Hubb Foundation chief operating officer, said: “It’s great news that we have been selected to continue our work with Stoke-on-Trent City Council to deliver the HAF programme.
“We will provide a wide range of fun activities during the summer, Christmas and Easter breaks in 2022/23, and we will make sure that children get a free meal for every day they take part in the sessions.
“Our programme is likely to include sport, science and technology challenges, cookery, outdoor learning, and arts and crafts.
“At a time when many families are struggling financially, the free activities mean that children can try new experiences that they would not usually be able to afford.”
Accessible for all
For summer 2022, the clubs will typically operate for four hours a day, four days a week. The 2022 funding will also cover a week’s worth of provision in each of the Christmas and Easter breaks.
Councillor Janine Bridges, cabinet member for education and the economy, said: “The HAF programme not only targets resources at children and families in need of additional support during the school holidays, but is open to all families who want to take part. This supports one of our key corporate priorities to enable all of our residents to live their lives well.
“Our schools and community groups will once again play an important part in this programme, and we want to enhance the 2022 programme so that more children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) benefit.”