Thousands of children and young people eligible for free school meals in Somerset will be able to enjoy free fun activities during the upcoming Easter holidays.
Over the past year the Government’s Holidays Activities and Food (HAF) programme has given young people aged 5-16 the chance to take part in inspirational physical activities, enjoy a nutritious meal, and learn about eating healthily.
Somerset County Council has teamed up with Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership to deliver the Happy Healthy Holidays Somerset (HHHS) initiative across the county, with bookings for this Easter’s activities opening this week.
There are a total of 12,000 places available, with more than 70 venues offering a wide range of activities from kayaking to music workshops, swimming, climbing and much more.
Parents will need to get a code from their school in order to book the activities. All details on what’s on offer, the locations of holiday clubs and days operating can be found on the opens in a new windowSASP website.
The Easter holidays will mark the first anniversary of HHHS, a programme that has proved very popular and is going from strength to strength in Somerset.
Somerset has been one of the best performing counties in terms of bookings and attendance, as thousands of children and young people eligible for free school meals have been given access to opportunities that might otherwise have been unavailable to them.
The organisers have also gathered plenty of positive feedback since the programme was launched. One parent said: “This has given so much happiness to my children over the holidays,” while another said: “My daughter had the best time learning new skills and conquered her fears. She is more confident and wants to take part in more activities outside of school.”
And it is not just the parents who have shown their enthusiasm for the HHHS programme. One of the young participants said: “For the first time ever I have something to tell my friends about back at school – I am going to tell them ‘I made a den!’”
Councillor Frances Nicholson, Somerset County Council Lead Member for Children’s Services said: “I am pleased the HHHS programme is returning this Easter. The strong collaboration between the Council, SASP, the providers, and schools has meant that Somerset has been one of the best performing counties in terms of bookings and attendance, and thousands of children and young people have been given access to opportunities that may otherwise have been unavailable to them.”
Jane Knowles, CEO of SASP added: ”This programme has demonstrated just how important it is that children are given opportunities to gain new experiences, make friends and share food over the holidays, the impact on the children has been amazing to see.”
There is specific and universal provision for children with SEND, and a virtual offer for those unable to attend in person. Providers can apply for help with transport costs for those in rural areas. There are also a limited number of family day options available for activity centres in Somerset.
Somerset County Council will also be using money from the Government’s Household Support Fund to provide food vouchers worth £10 per pupil per week for children eligible for free school meals over the Easter holidays.
For more information visit the SASP website.