Wyre Council is launching a programme of free activities this summer for children on benefits-related free school meals.

The local summer holiday clubs are part of the Government’s Holiday Activities and Food programme (HAF). Backed by a nationwide investment of up to £220 million, the programme will enable children and young people to enjoy fun activities with friends and learn and develop new skills.

A range of clubs across Wyre will run from Monday 26 July until Friday 20 August and will be free for primary and secondary aged school children who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals.

The sessions include a variety of fun activities alongside a nutritious meal each day. They are a great opportunity for young people to get out and about, get active and meet new friends. There’s plenty to enjoy including arts and crafts, cooking, bowling, kayaking, football and much more, as well as activities for children with special educational needs or disabilities.

Councillor Lynne Bowen, Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Health and Community Engagement at Wyre Council comments, “We are pleased to be able to offer this summer holiday programme to eligible families this year.

“After what has been an incredibly difficult 18 months for many of us, children especially have been impacted by the pandemic and this programme allows them to enjoy their summer by taking part in activities with friends safely.”

Children and Families Minister Vicky Ford said: “Our pioneering Holiday Activities and Food programme has been expanded nationwide this year for the first time, so it will benefit many more children than ever before. This year, especially, I want children to make the most of their school holidays, so I’m thrilled that there is so much support and enthusiasm for the programme. This significant expansion across the country and to every local authority will support even more children over the holidays with healthy meals, fun activities, and learning opportunities.”

Andrew Forsey, Chair of the HAF Alliance said: “The importance of an enriching holiday experience for all children cannot be underestimated. There is evidence that the best HAF programmes benefit children, parents and communities by enabling children to learn new skills, socialise with friends, and enjoy nutritious food in a safe environment, while supporting their return to school and alleviating parental stress. The HAF Alliance is sharing its expertise and best practice with local authorities to help them to develop and deliver excellent holiday programmes for their local communities.”

Details of all the sessions can be found at www.wyre.gov.uk/holidayclub. Places need to be reserved and full details of how to book are also on the website.

Paid for places are available for children who are not eligible for benefits-related free school meals, please contact the activity providers directly for more information.