Thousands of children are set to benefit from a programme of free activities and meals in North Tyneside.
Backed by £788,000 from the Department for Education, North Tyneside Council will work to support more than 7,000 children who are eligible for free school meals in the borough.
The Holiday Activities and Food programme (HAF) aims to help children stay healthy and active during school holidays. It will be open to all children in North Tyneside but free to those who already receive free school meals.
The council is now working with community organisations to develop the programme for the school holidays, and families are being asked to help plan the activities by completing a survey.
Councillor Peter Earley, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Learning, said: “School holidays can bring added financial pressure for families, with additional food bills and other costs linked to finding activities to keep their children engaged and entertained.
“Some of this work began at Easter, when Tyne and Wear TV screened a series of shows dedicated to young people across the region, funded by North East councils. In North Tyneside, we complemented this with activity and food packs. We are now interested in working with local groups and families to plan a summer programme that will help to engage, entertain, and enrich young people’s lives during their time off school.
“As a listening council, we’d like to hear from families about the kind of activities their children would enjoy and benefit from, so that we can put together a programme based on people’s needs and preferences.
“We hope that by taking part, local children will discover and develop a lasting interest in new sports and activities, a greater enjoyment of our open spaces, and the confidence to engage with future opportunities in sports and leisure.”
Robert Harker, Headteacher at Carville Primary School, welcomed the additional support at Easter.
He said: "It was fantastic that so many of our children were able to benefit from the activity packs provided. Taking home a bag of sports and games equipment enabled so many children to enjoy being active outdoors and having fun with their families.”
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