Walsall Council has been awarded £1.8m of Department for Education funding to deliver the Holiday Activities and Food programme in 2021. The programme is aimed at providing healthy food and enriching activities for primary and secondary school aged children who are eligible for benefit-related free school meals.
Walsall Council is working with 21 partners to ensure that no child goes hungry, feels bored or is socially isolated this Easter. Together the council and partners have developed a fun, creative and exciting programme including:
- 14 different face to face holiday clubs children can attend throughout Easter
- 79 different virtual live activities including dance, art, sports and cooking.
- 15 virtual courses where children can learn a new skill over Easter.
- 1000+ activity packs
In addition Walsall Council has collaborated with MKG Foods, The Midcounties Co-operative Your Co-op Food stores and Blakemore Foodservice to provide all 1822 children signed up to the programme with a healthy recipe box. This will include ingredients, recipe cards and nutrition information helping families to cook four healthy family meals during Easter.
Walsall Children’s Services has also built Easter holiday web pages with lots of useful information on activities and support available for all families during Easter. This can be accessed at https://go.walsall.gov.uk/children_and_young_people/easter_2021_holiday_activities_programme/resources
Registration for summer activities opens on 3 May.
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Registration for the Easter activities is now closed. Registration for Summer activities opens on 3 May at https://go.walsall.gov.uk/children_and_young_people/easter_2021_holiday_activities_programme
1822 children have registered to take part in the Easter Programme. Of these, only 108 children were not able to book through the online portal and have been given additional support through a helpline. These children have been automatically provided a place on the face to face offer.
13.9% of children registered on the Easter Programme had a SEND as identified by the parent/carer registering the children.
Most children will be provided with an online offer delivered through 20 providers. The offer includes:
- 69 different pick and mix activities: This is a range of standalone activities.
- 1000 physical activity packs: A free activity pack develop by Walsall Council sport and leisure linked to physical activities online sessions throughout the two weeks.
- 15 courses: There are a number of courses on offer to get children learning a new skill. This includes piano lessons, gaming, growing plants and flowers, pottery making and 3D printing.
In addition, the healthy food aspect for children accessing the online offer will be delivered through healthy food boxes delivered to children’s home. The food boxes will be complimented with healthy online cooking sessions. Food boxes also include healthy recipe cards and nutrition information.
Healthy Recipe box: This box will contain ingredients to cook 4 healthy meals: Veggie bean chilli, Lentil and sweet potato curry, Tomato pasta and vegetable Goulash with pot wedges.
Access to free recorded cooking sessions
Families with more than one child registered will get the above plus an Essential food Cupboard box
This box will be filled with key ingredients that will keep for a couple of months and will help families cook healthily. The holiday programme has a couple of cooking sessions included that will give some useful ideas and tips to cook healthy dishes from the store cupboard.
For children engaged in the programme, the following key impact measures will be evaluated:
- To eat more healthily over the school holidays;
- To be more active during the school holidays;
- To take part in engaging and enriching activities which support the development of resilience, character and wellbeing along with their wider education attainment;
- To be safe and not to be socially isolated;
- To have greater knowledge of health nutrition; and
- To be more engaged with school and other local services.
The evaluation of the Easter programme, including feedback from children and parents will help inform the summer and Christmas programmes.
Further support to Walsall families on low incomes will be provided through the Government extension to the COVID-19 Winter Grant Scheme. As part of this provision, Walsall Council made payments for each child to all those families with children that were in receipt of council tax reduction (CTR) in December 2020 and February 2021. CTR is the scheme that provides support towards Council Tax payments for families on a low income.
A further payment of £20 per child will be made before the Easter holiday in respect of all children who were on a CTR claim as at 1 March 2021.
From 8 March 2021 the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme has been extended to parents and guardians who are not legally required to self-isolate, but who need to take time off work to look after a child or young person who is self-isolating.
Applicants will need to satisfy all the other eligibility criteria for the main scheme or their local discretionary scheme to receive the payment. Applications can be back-dated to this date if applicable.
Applications can be made via https://www.grantapproval.co.uk/