Thousands of children and young people across the Wirral will get the chance to enjoy new activities and learn new skills this summer thanks to a network of 54 holiday clubs that will be operating through schools, charities and community groups over the school break.
Up to 6000 places are available in the huge programme of activities, which includes music, dance, drama, art, sport and cooking. The scheme is being coordinated by education services provider Edsential – a community interest company owned by Wirral and Cheshire West & Chester Councils – and their local partner Neo Community. A nutritious meal will be provided each day to all those taking part in the holiday clubs.
The summer programme will be targeted at those who are eligible for free school meals and has been made possible thanks to an award of £800,000 from the Department for Education’s Holiday Activity Fund.
Families on a budget and who need to make their money go further are also being invited to take part in a ‘Summer Cooking on a Budget Challenge’ which will provide all the ingredients – and a sprinkling of cooking advice and encouragement – to prepare a range of balanced meals for all the whole family to enjoy.
All those taking part in the challenge will receive nutritional food packs containing all the ingredients and recipes needed to make meals together. They will also be encouraged to record and share a short video of their cooking efforts on social media for a chance to win some fantastic prizes.
The Summer Cooking on a Budget Challenge is expected to support up to 4000 local families and is part of package of support that has been made possible following an award of £1.153 million from the Department for Work and Pensions for an extension to Wirral’s Covid Local Support Grant. The extra money will also provide:
- A £300,000 small grants programme offering grants of up to £15,000 to community food and welfare support providers to ensure food and essential supplies are available to those most in need over the summer months.
- £123,750 for ‘Welcome Back to School Food Support Packs’ which will provide a supply of essential food for schools to distribute to families in need at the start of the new term.
- £125,000 to help residents who are struggling with fuel and water bills to deal with their debt and move forward in a more sustainable way. The scheme will be delivered by Citizens Advice Wirral in partnership with local charity Energy Projects Plus.
- £37,000 for crisis support with white goods and emergency call-outs and boiler repairs/ replacements, which will be managed in partnership with community-based partners, North Birkenhead Development Trust and St Vincent de Paul Society (Wirral), and local charity Energy Projects Plus.
Wirral Council’s Director of Children’s Services, Simone White, said:
“Children and families have had a tough time since the start of the Pandemic, with many having to deal with continued disruption and added financial pressures. We know for many families big challenges remain. It is really good to know that thanks to this extra support many can now look forward to the summer holiday and knowing that their children will be among the thousands of local children and young people will benefit from these wonderful opportunities to have a go at new activities and meet new friends in a safe and fun environment.”
More information about summer holiday clubs in Wirral, including how to enrol, will be published on the Edsential website at www.edsential.com/holidayactivityfund2021 and look out for more information about the Summer Cooking Challenge, which will be published shortly.
The CEO of Neo Community, Ema Wilkes, said:
“We are, again, immensely proud to be part of this collaborative and creative approach to supporting communities over Wirral. This Summer will inspire families to cook together, inspire communities to work together and inspire people to support themselves and each other through difficult times. We hope this momentum and huge partnership will continue for a long time to come.”
Community support and welfare groups can find out more about the Small Grant Programme on the website.