Thousands of children and young people in Manchester will be able to take part in a programme of holiday activities over Easter targeted at those who receive free school meals.
Activities will be available across the city in schools, youth centres, adventure playgrounds and parks, with eligible children and young people invited through their schools or youth providers to take part.
A wide range of activities will be on offer – from sports and adventure play, to the arts and well-being – and each session will also include the provision of healthy snacks to help keep energy levels up and to help make sure no-one is going hungry whilst schools are closed for the holidays.
In Manchester there around 31,000 children and young people in the city who receive benefits related free school meals.
It’s hoped that the holiday activity programme will help improve children’s health and well-being, help rebuild their resilience, and also help tackle the social isolation that many children and young people have felt over the last year.
It comes as the city celebrates ‘2022 Our Year’ – a campaign to create a fantastic year of opportunity for Manchester’s children and young people, to help make up for all the time they’ve spent in lockdown and away from school and their friends during the pandemic of the last two years.
Throughout this year the council wants the city to look at itself through the eyes of its young residents, putting children and young people’s needs at the forefront of planning across every sphere of city life. It is asking businesses, cultural organisations, leisure providers, shops, transport operators, and others – to get behind the city’s children and young people and think what they could do differently to help them be happy and healthy, and to have the kind of opportunities and experiences they need and deserve so they can reclaim their futures and succeed in life.
The city council has also agreed that it will be funding free lunches through the Easter school holidays for all children and young people in the city who are eligible for benefits’ related free school meals, to ensure they don’t go hungry during their break from school.
Councillor Garry Bridges, Executive Member for Children and Schools, Manchester City Council, said:
“The last two years have been really tough for everyone, but it has been harder still for thousands of children and young people in the city and their families who were struggling to survive even before the pandemic hit. We hope that providing funding for lunches through the Easter holidays for eligible children and young people will go some way towards helping.
“We’re determined to do everything we can throughout 2022 Our Year to help make life better for them and help improve their health, their well-being, and resilience. We hope that taking part in these activities over the school holidays will help give children back a sense of fun and enjoyment after the last two years.”
Parents whose children receive benefits related free school meals will be invited by their school to take part in the scheme, and will then need to pre-book their child onto their chosen activity sessions.
The holiday activity scheme has been funded by the Department for Education through its national Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) scheme.m m