This summer, thousands of children who are eligible for free school meals can benefit from free activities, fun and food during the holidays – thanks to the Happy Healthy Holidays Somerset (HHHS) project run by Somerset County Council and Somerset Activity & Sports Partnership (SASP).
More than 60 venues across Somerset are offering activities including kayaking, sports, music workshops and much, much more for 5 to 16 year olds during the summer holidays.
Eligible families receive a code from their child’s school which they use to book places online. Bookings for this summer’s programme have already seen a huge take up.
In the Easter holidays 2,500 Somerset children enjoyed activities and they, their parents and the activity providers all agreed the scheme was a great success. One mum whose son attended activities at Millfield School reported her boy enjoyed it so much she caught him sleeping with his activity timetable at night as it was the last thing he looked at before going to bed.
Somerset County Council and SASP have used feedback from earlier schemes to adapt the project so it helps as many families as possible – finding transport in rural areas, making activities more accessible for children with special educational needs and disabilities, and providing more activities for those aged 13+.
One popular feature of the scheme is ‘Make and Take’ food, which is being expanded for this summer holiday. Purple Elephant, an activity provider in the Frome area, reported: “Families really appreciate the meal packs we gave them to take home. They have been asking for more healthy recipes at our sessions. It really helps families bridge the gap over the holidays.”
SCC and SASP are also working with the charity Fareshare and have organised for ambient goods to be delivered once a week to 40 of the HHHS venues. This food is to be used for activity snacks or food cupboard support for families. Alongside this, a specialist nutritionist has been commissioned to create a series of videos highlighting healthy, cheap, and easy to source recipes for families to make at home.
Councillor Tessa Munt, Somerset County Council’s Lead Member for Children & Families Services said: “This scheme makes a big difference to families in Somerset, and I am really pleased that it is returning for the summer holidays.
“The programme provides thousands of children and young people with access to opportunities that may otherwise be unavailable to them.
“The strong collaborative work between the Council, SASP, the providers, and local schools has meant that Somerset has performed brilliantly in terms of bookings and attendance.”
Jane Knowles, SASP CEO said: “We are really pleased to be managing this programme again for Somerset and we are constantly learning and improving to bring a more enriching programme to young people. The programme has expanded for summer 2022 and we want as many young people and families to benefit from this provision as possible.”
For more information about the Happy Healthy Holidays Somerset programme visit: https://www.sasp.co.uk/happy-healthy-holidays or call 01823 653992.
For further information, please contact the Press Office on 01823 355020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors:
The scheme is part of the Government’s Holiday, Activities and Food programme, designed to help children eligible for free school meals by tackling holiday hunger, physical inactivity and social isolation.
The programme has gone from strength to strength and is making a big difference to families in Somerset. Research shows that children attended for an average of four days during the Easter holidays in 2022.