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OnSide to offer free holiday activities and meals

27th July 2018 by Onside Youth Zones

We are delighted to announce that OnSide Youth Zones have secured funding through Dept of Education to run the Holiday scheme which will directly tackle holiday hunger alongside the lack of enrichment opportunities for  young people in school holidays.

OnSide Youth Zones will offer free access to our summer holiday programme for 1,444 8-13 year olds where they will receive breakfast and lunch and participate in sports, arts, STEM and life/character skills building activities supporting their improved health, wellbeing and personal development. Seniors, aged 13 to 19 (up to 25 with a disability), will be able to access similar activities and a free meal in the evening between 6pm – 9pm. This will include opportunities to participate in Jamie Oliver Ministry of Food cookery workshops to build an understanding of healthy eating and skills to cook nutritious affordable meals further alleviating holiday hunger.

This is being delivered across all of our Youth Zones.

Our CEO Kathryn Morley, said: “Many parents and guardians struggle to pay additional childcare costs over the summer break. Youth centres play a vital role in many communities by providing affordable access to stimulating and safe environments during this time.

The funds we’ve received will allow us to provide free access to state-of-the-art facilities with a huge range of positive activities led by exceptional staff and volunteers, for almost 1,500 young people across the country right throughout the summer holiday.

We are delighted to play a part in addressing challenges that young people and their primary carers face.

We welcome any funding which helps to reduce the amount of young people who do not have access to the nutritious meals that they would otherwise have during term time.”

The Dept of Education today announced:

A series of projects, backed by £2million of government funding, will be run across the country including the North East, Birmingham and London, providing activities such as free football classes, play sessions and cooking classes.

These projects, running across the summer, will also provide free meals for the most disadvantaged families who may rely on the Free School Meals they receive during term time.

Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said:

For most pupils, the end of the school summer term signals the start of holidays, days out and a chance to make memories with friends and family. Other families, who might rely on the support provided by schools, are not so lucky.

These projects will provide a range of support for families during the summer break. They will also give children access to experiences that won’t just create great memories but will help broaden their horizons and build the confidence they need to succeed in whatever path they choose to follow.

Academic standards are rising across the country and there are now 1.9 million more children in schools rated good or outstanding than in 2010. Most importantly, the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their more affluent peers has already shrunk by 10% at GCSE and 10.5% at KS2 since 2011.

Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of government backed schemes to help disadvantaged children. These include the £2.25billion Pupil Premium, Free School Meals and most recently a £26million investment to kick-start or improve breakfast clubs in at least 1,700 schools.

Commenting on the announcement, Lindsay Graham, independent policy advisor who has campaigned on this issue in the past, said:

The school holidays can be a challenging and costly time for families, particularly for those on a limited income or whose children are reliant on term time free school meals.

The need for community led enrichment opportunities for children, young people and their families is paramount for helping the most disadvantaged in our society. Early research in the UK is telling us that these types of projects can make a difference.

Evidence suggests that attending out-of-school activities can have a positive impact on children’s educational, health and well-being outcomes. The projects announced today will be run by Children North East, Family Action, Feeding Britain, Birmingham Holiday Kitchen, Onside Youth Zones, Street Games and TLG (Transforming Lives for Good).

This funding comes after the government announced that it would run a targeted pilot programme in the 2019 Easter and summer holidays.

This work aims to support children’s education by:

  • testing the effectiveness of interventions
  • looking at take-up of provision
  • identifying the costs involved
  • considering whether there are particular areas where this kind of programme would be most effective

To ensure this work is implemented effectively, ministers will work closely with Frank Field MP and expert stakeholders, as it develops.

Read the article here.