An activity programme set up in Kirklees has made a “massive difference” to thousands of children and families in the district over the school holidays.
The scheme, which takes place during school holidays, is in partnership between Kirklees Council, Kirklees Youth Alliance and a wide range of local organisations.
During the summer break, Healthy Holidays offered a mix of free activities in line with Covid-19 restrictions – many were open to all families, while others were specifically for families classed as vulnerable.
In total, over 210 sessions were delivered, with 2137 children and young people attending
This included 96 online activities, which were run by 12 different community groups and were accessible to everyone.
Almost 3,000 cooking packs – including ingredients and recipe sheets – were delivered to vulnerable families, helping children in need to be well fed.
More than 530 art packs and 600 physical activity packs were sent to disadvantaged children and young people
The scheme also ran at October half-term and will continue in future holiday periods, through funding from the council.
Families across Kirklees shared their experiences with the activities on offer.
One parent said: “My daughter loved learning different dance styles and techniques. It was an amazing week filled with fun, laughter, meeting new people and moments she will treasure forever.”
Tom shared his experience with the sports-based sessions: “I loved going to the multi-sports camps. I really enjoyed it and all the staff I met were really nice. I also got to meet new friends, which is a lot better than being at home.”
Another parent added: “Thank you for providing my girls with a wonderful opportunity to learn new skills. It boosted their confidence in an empowering environment and my eldest daughter, who is a wheelchair user, was made to feel particularly welcome and special.”
Alasdair Brown, Chair of the Kirklees Youth Alliance (KYA) Board of Trustees, said: “The KYA Network of local voluntary sector and social enterprises has made a major positive impact in ensuring the delivery of Healthy Holidays to young people across Kirklees, overcoming the challenge provided by Covid and ensuring local young people had healthy activities during the school holidays.
“Key to this has been the excellent co-ordination role played by KYA’s Development Manager, Susan Greenwood. KYA are extremely grateful to Kirklees Council for continuing to provide their backing to both KYA and the Healthy Holidays programme into the coming years – a fantastic example of partnership work, providing opportunities to local young people, targeting those who would benefit most from these opportunities.”
Cllr Carole Pattison, The Cabinet Member for Learning, Aspiration and Communities, said: “We were delighted to work with our partners across Kirklees to offer such a fantastic array of support during the summer and half-term breaks.
“These activities were a lifeline for many families and made a massive difference, especially at a time when Covid-19 has made life very challenging.
“The cooking packs, for instance, didn’t just promote healthy and nutritious meals but also helped families to join together in having fun and learning new skills.
“We are proud to fund all of these initiatives and I would like to thank Kirklees Youth Alliance, plus all the community groups, who made them a great success.”
Cllr Viv Kendrick, the Cabinet Member for Children, said: “Together, during the seven weeks of the summer holidays, we increased physical activity, supported learning, helped children to stay fed and reached those who needed our help the most.
“There was a similar programme during October half-term and we have already committed to funding ‘Healthy Holidays’ in the future.
“This brilliant free offer will continue to evolve and adapt so that it supports as many people as possible.
“It is well known that children’s health can suffer during the school holidays, but our aim is to give them the best start in life all year round.”