Published Monday, 5th July 2021
Children and young people receiving benefits-related free school meals can access a free children’s holiday clubs programme over the summer break.
The Holiday Activities and Food programme (HAF) will be available throughout the borough this summer and will offer those taking part a healthy meal along with a variety of fun activities.
Many children and young people across the country can find it challenging to take part in extracurricular activities and meet other peers during the school holidays. This has been particularly difficult since the start of the pandemic as many families have had to isolate themselves to protect their loved ones. Some parents and carers can find it difficult to pay for holiday club provision during the holidays and the HAF programme aims to bridge this gap by providing enriching activities and healthy meals for four weeks over the summer.
Sutton Council delivered a successful HAF programme over the Easter holidays, providing a variety of activities, such as arts and crafts, pond-dipping, sports, adventure trails and free play in the woods to eligible children. The Summer programme will work with the voluntary sector and partner organisations to deliver a broader range of activities in line with COVID-19 restrictions.
Lisa Quested from Orchard Childcare Limited took part in the delivery of the Easter HAF programme, said:
“We run holiday clubs for our host schools and there is a really big need for children who would not normally be able to attend the club due to finances. When we saw the HAF opportunity we were delighted.
“We provided a variety of activities including arts and crafts, various sports opportunities, cooking, free play and trips out. The children that attended really enjoyed the club and some said they did not want to go home. Bathing the babies and cooking were very popular.”
A parent of a young child, who attended the programme at Orchard Childcare, said:
“Dixie really enjoyed all the activities and being able to meet new children. She was really tired when she got home and could not wait to tell her Dad all about her day.
“I will definitely recommend the club to my friends and I hope that we will be offered the opportunity again in the future. The staff were really friendly and welcoming. Dixie cannot stop talking about Carla.”
Councillor Jenny Batt, Vice Chair of People Committee said:
“It was brilliant that the Council and partners were able to offer a variety of activities through the HAF programme during Easter. We will continue this ambitious programme of events during the summer to support the physical and mental health and wellbeing of children and young people in the borough.
“The holiday period can cause added financial pressure for families, with increased costs on childcare and food, and we hope Sutton’s HAF programme will engage and support some of the borough’s hardest-hit families.”