The Easter holidays are looking brighter for disadvantaged children and young people in Hertfordshire thanks to an exciting partnership.
Hertfordshire County Council has joined forces with Herts Sports Partnership and the Hertfordshire Community Foundation to deliver healthy food and activities over the holidays.
The HAPpy (Holiday Activities Programme) is open to all children and young people in Hertfordshire but is particularly aimed at the county’s most disadvantaged children.
Children and young people will be able to take part in a range of sports and cultural activities, as well as receive advice on nutrition and cooking skills to enhance their health and wellbeing, with those in receipt of free school meals eligible to attend for free.
Thanks to funding by the Department for Education, which is extending this initiative across England in 2021, existing or prospective organisers of holiday activity programmes can now access this funding to deliver daily programmes for young people.
The scheme has been further boosted with investment from Hertfordshire County Council to continue to provide free school meals for all entitled young children, during both the Easter and May school holiday periods.
Launching the programme in Hertfordshire, Cllr Teresa Heritage, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services at Hertfordshire County Council said: “We are delighted to be at the forefront of this exciting initiative and pleased to be working in partnership with both the Herts Sports Partnership and the Hertfordshire Community Foundation, to deliver our goals.
“The ongoing pandemic has clearly widened the inequality gap for some of our most disadvantaged and vulnerable families and the HAPpy – Holiday Activities Programme – will be a welcome boost to some of those facing the greatest need at this time.”
Herts Sports Partnership Director, John O’Callaghan said: “We have seen first-hand from our National Lottery supported Fit, Fed and Read programme that school holidays can be a particularly miserable time for some of our young people and COVID-19 has had a massively adverse impact on both the physical and mental health of our young people.
“An opportunity to come back together with peers in a safe, welcoming environment for some fun and enjoyment will be a light relief in such difficult times. We are extremely pleased to have been appointed by the County Council to assist in this venture and we look forward to rolling out an accessible programme with enjoyable experiences for our young people.”
Echoing O’Callaghan’s sentiments, Foundation Director at Hertfordshire Community Foundation, Helen Gray said: “We are also delighted to be involved in this programme and over the years we have developed a relationship with a raft of community and voluntary organisations who are well placed to assist with the delivery of this programme. We will shortly be announcing details of the grant aid programme and we look forward to receiving some exciting and innovative proposals for the delivery of this much needed scheme.”
The four-hour sessions will be led by a range of organisations from across the public, private, community and voluntary sectors and will be held at various venues from schools and community halls, to parks and leisure centres, subject to COVID-19 restrictions.
The HAPpy scheme will be delivered across Hertfordshire during the Easter school holidays and in recognition of ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the programme is being twin-tracked to include both face-to-face and online activities. This will ensure that all young people remain active and connected during these challenging times.
Further details of the programme can be found at: https://sportinherts.org.uk/
To apply for a HAPpy grant: APPLY