Thousands of young people and families in Hull have benefited from free activities and food this summer, through the Healthy Holidays Hull programme.
Across the summer holidays, 26 July to 7 September, the programme delivered sports, dance, music, crafts, performances and a variety of fun, free activities in locations right across the city.
Over 21,000 people attended one of the play days that took place in Queens Gardens, Alderman Kneeshaw and Pearson Park, and community beach days in Bransholme, Ings and King George V playing fields. 1000 activity sessions took place which were attended by a total of 32,756 people. Food was provided every day of the programme with 25,737 packed lunches and snack packs provided by Hull Catering, 1500 hot family meals for four people were produced by community project EMS, based at the Freedom Centre, and many other community providers served hot meals.
Children got involved in circus skills, boxing, kayaking, music sessions, animal storytelling, football, street dance and gardening. There were dedicated SEND sessions, including rock climbing, dance, swimming and wheelchair rugby. Over 50 community providers helped deliver the extensive activity and food programme, supported through youth network grants. The Healthy Lifestyles team were on hand to provide advice and information to families, and free fruit tasters were given to people attending.
Councillor Shane McMurray, Portfolio Holder for children’s services said: “I am delighted that we have received excellent feedback from children, young people and their families about the events and activities.
“It’s important that the activities were free, varied and accessible right across the city, so children from toddlers through to teens can find something to get involved with. We found a real sense of community spirit and each sessions was an opportunity for children and families to try new things which might stimulate interest in particular activities, whilst raising awareness of local opportunities.”
One of the children who attended said: “It’s very good, very active, and in the year of the pandemic I fell like it’s good for children to get out and enjoy themselves doing things that they love. They bring food for the kids so they can always eat healthy too.”
One mum said: “It was amazing to have the opportunity to take my son swimming in an environment where people will understand. He finds busy environments a little overwhelming and loved the SEN swims during summer.”
Another parent said: “I bring my son to the sessions to get him out of the house, to improve his fitness. He really enjoyed mixing with the other children, getting him off the play station and into the fresh air.”
Planning is now taking place for the Christmas holidays, where families will be able to access festive activities and events, with food available.
Healthy Holidays Hull is part of the National Holiday Activity and Food Programme, funded by the Department for Education.