As schools across North Yorkshire break up for the Easter holidays, a new programme is helping to keep children and young people active, creative and connected.
In addition to food vouchers, families on low incomes in North Yorkshire will also receive FEAST holiday activity packs.
FEAST is a partnership between North Yorkshire County Council with North Yorkshire Sport, North Yorkshire Youth and Rural Arts working as North Yorkshire Together.
There are two versions of the packs; one for primary-aged children and another for secondary school age. Both contain items for fun activities and creative projects, as well as an activity booklet, including recipes for affordable, healthy meals which families can make together.
The FEAST packs are funded from the Department for Education’s Holiday Activities and Food programme in response to the increased pressure school holidays can bring to many families due to the increased cost of food and childcare.
David Watson, Chief Executive at North Yorkshire Sport said: “North Yorkshire Sport are delighted to be part of the FEAST programme. Physical activity is a vital part of a young person’s development, supporting not only their physical, but also their mental health and this programme aims to make accessing that activity easier.
“At North Yorkshire Sport we are committed to reducing the opportunity gap, trying to make sure that where you live or what your economic circumstances are do not limit your opportunity to take part. FEAST will put activity, not only at the heart of communities where it is needed most during the school holidays but also, because the barrier of cost is removed, ensure that it is accessible to all.
“As a result of the pandemic, young people have missed the opportunity to socialise, compete and play with their peers. Sport and physical activity in general, and FEAST in particular, can help them ‘catch up’ on this most vital part of their development.”
As well as ideas and resources for physical activities, the packs also include materials for creative projects, along with ideas for arts activities children and families can take part in over the holidays. All children and families can access the activities online, along with Rural Arts’ online creative workshops.
Max May, Director and CEO at Rural Arts, based in Thirsk, said: “We’re thrilled to continue our work with North Yorkshire County Council and North Yorkshire Together partners on FEAST.
“Creativity is an important part of young people’s development, and access to it is a fundamental human right. We’re glad to be part of a team making sure that over 11,000 young people across North Yorkshire receive free creative resources to support and engage them over the Easter break. We’re also thrilled to provide free access to our extensive range of online creative workshops on our North Yorkshire Together website.
“As FEAST progresses, we’re looking forward to supporting grassroots community groups and creative practitioners across the county to design activities for young people to engage in face-to-face.
“As North Yorkshire’s only Arts Council England annually funded organisation to works across all artistic disciplines and all North Yorkshire districts, we‘re uniquely placed to develop the creative capacity and potential of groups and individuals across North Yorkshire.”
Volunteers with North Yorkshire Youth put together the activity bags at their base at Carlton Lodge Activity Centre, assembling more than 11,000 packs to be distributed across the county.
David Sharp, Chief Executive at North Yorkshire Youth added: “We’re very proud to be part of the FEAST initiative, supporting young people is our bag and as such packing the 11,000 plus activity packs just seemed an ideal fit for us. The Carlton Lodge Activity Centre team have done a phenomenal job putting them together in just under two weeks and we hope the young people have fun doing the activities and use the equipment.”
Marie-Ann Jackson, Head of the Strong Communities team at North Yorkshire County Council said: “The FEAST programme is the perfect example of strong partnership working.
“The packs are already proving to be a huge hit and that’s down to the combined passion and enthusiasm of the three charities involved working alongside our own county council colleagues. I’d also like to thank Yorwaste for their generous donation of a skip for all of the cardboard packing 11,000 bags generated. Team North Yorkshire at its finest.”