From education to employment

£9 million support for disadvantaged children during school holidays

Government launches multi-million pound fund to help thousands more low-income families.

Thousands more disadvantaged children will benefit from free meals and activities during the school holidays, under a £9 million Government programme announced today (21 Dec).

Organisations from across the country have been invited to bid for a share of the multi-million-pound Government investment to deliver holiday clubs for pupils eligible for free school meals during the 2019 summer break.

The scheme follows a successful £2 million programme in the summer of 2018, which saw charities and community groups provide meals and activities such as football, play sessions and cooking classes for more than 18,000 children across the country.

To build on that in 2019, the Department for Education has now confirmed it will more than quadruple funding and strengthen the programme to encourage co-ordination in local communities so that even more disadvantaged children can benefit.

Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said:

We supported more than 18,000 disadvantaged children through our investment this summer – giving young people access to nutritious meals and fun activities and helping us to understand how we can best support them during the holidays.

Following this successful programme we have increased funding to £9 million for next year and will tailor the scheme so that it has the most benefit for young people and their families.

This will help deliver on our ambition for every child, regardless of their background, to reach their potential – building on our work to shrink the attainment gap in our schools and continue protection of the £2.4 billion a year spent on the pupil premium for those who need it most.

Evidence suggests that attending holiday clubs can have a positive impact on children’s attainment, health and wellbeing. This is especially true of clubs that provide enrichment activities as well as meals – and that involve children and parents in preparing healthy food.

The role of local co-ordinators will include ensuring there are enough high-quality clubs in their area, working with providers to improve what is on offer, and raising awareness of what is available for the families who need it most.

As with the 2018 scheme, this programme will provide us with valuable information about what works in supporting this emerging sector.

Among the charities granted funding in 2018 were StreetGames, which brings sport to disadvantaged children, and OnSide Youth Zones, which runs a network of clubs for young people to socialise, take part in enriching activities and learn new skills.

David White, Director of the StreetGames ‘Fit and Fed’ campaign, said:

Funding from the Department for Education over summer 2018 allowed our work to be improved and enhanced in 60 communities across England, supporting 2,600 children and young people at risk of holiday hunger, inactivity and isolation.

The sessions gave participants somewhere to go, something to do, and something to eat. Their impact was much greater than this, though. Children benefited from sport and activity sessions, day and residential trips away from home, cooking lessons, literacy programmes and arts and crafts, all delivered by a workforce trained to support disadvantaged young people – and for a unit cost of just £6.26 per child, per day.

Helen Taylor, Network Director at OnSide Youth Zones, said:

This funding has made a real difference to the lives of some of the most disadvantaged young people in the country, enabling them to access high-quality enrichment activities and nutritious meals.

Feedback from the young people, their parents, carers and the schools has been incredibly positive in terms of reducing social isolation, classroom inequalities and the financial burden on families over the summer holidays – as well as health improvements and an increase in the overall wellbeing of young people and their carers.

Today’s announcement is part of the Government’s efforts to ensure all children get the best possible start in life and live happy, active lives. This includes introducing the first ever strategy to tackle childhood obesity, doubling the PE and Sport Premium for primary schools to £320 million and, ahead of the launch of an ambitious School Sport Action Plan in 2019, recently holding a roundtable with leading professional sporting bodies including the Premier League and England Hockey.

The bidding process is open now and will close on 7 February 2019. Organisations can bid for funding by visiting Contracts Finder.

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