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Great news for school holiday activities

Great news for school holiday activities
07 January 2022

We have secured more than £460,000 to provide activities for local youngsters during the school holidays in the year ahead.

The grant has been awarded by the Department for Education as part of its Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme to provide free places at holiday clubs for the Easter, summer and Christmas school holidays.

It will enable thousands of youngsters from across the borough, who receive free school meals, to take part in six weeks of fun and enriching activities – four during the summer and one each at Easter and Christmas. All those who take part will also receive a healthy meal as well as nutritional education.

Last year, more than 900 children took part in a range of activities during the summer, and around 1,200 took part in a wide range of enriching and physical activities over the Christmas period.  These included a visit to the Darlington Hippodrome pantomime, ice skating, bowling, Santa at the Station visits as well as arts and crafts, drama and magic sessions.  Working with schools to host travelling pantomime sessions and in partnership with many local providers enabled so many children from the ages of five-16 to access the diverse range of activities available.

Councillor Jon Clarke, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said:

“We’re delighted that so many children took part in activities last year and the feedback we’ve had from them and their families has been tremendous.

“This funding will allow us to provide more fun activities, as well as healthy food options and advice that will help boost the health and wellbeing of our youngsters. We look forward to working with our partners to draw up a programme for the youngsters to enjoy.”

Parents/carers of children who are eligible for and receive free school meals will be contacted through the children’s schools, there is no need to apply.

Following the success of the HAF programme in 2021, the government announced in October last year that it would continue in all local authorities in England for the next three years with funding of more than £200m each year. Darlington Borough Council will receive £466,240 in 2022/23. More details can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/holiday-activities-and-food-programme

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