Fun, healthy activities and nutritious food for children this summer

This story was published 24 June 2022

Holiday clubs are taking place this summer which will provide children with nutritious food and a chance to take part in exciting and engaging activities to improve health and wellbeing.

Child on a bike in a North Yorkshire FEAST  holiday activity

The FEAST programme is now in its second year and sees holiday activities including sports, outdoor activities and creative workshops taking place in each North Yorkshire district over the school summer break.

Activities are open to all children and young people in North Yorkshire and children and young people who receive benefits-related free school meals can attend for free and will also receive a hot meal or packed lunch each day. Eligible families will receive a letter with a code to claim their free place via their school.

The FEAST programme is run by North Yorkshire Together, a partnership between North Yorkshire Youth, North Yorkshire Sport and Rural Arts that supports residents to be happy and healthy.

We received funding to coordinate healthy holiday activities for children from the Department for Education’s Holiday Activities and Food programme. The funding recognises that school holidays can put additional pressures on family finances due to increased food and childcare costs and aims to provide children with activities which help them stay healthy, active and socially connected and allow them to develop new skills.

This year, a record number of providers are taking part in North Yorkshire FEAST, including many primary schools in the county. Some of the holiday clubs on offer include:

  • A holiday club set up by mothers of school age children who wanted to help tackle the difficulties families face with childcare during the school holidays. The club runs for two days a week at The Laughing Giraffe in Harrogate.
  • The Active Summer Project, which aims to increase participation rates in sports for children and young people who have experienced challenging circumstances, to help build their confidence, develop team work and improve communication skills. The club will be running from 25 to 27 July at Harrogate Ladies College.
  • Fun activities at Tree Tops Holiday Clubs at Barwick Parade Community Primary School in Selby, including bug hunts, visiting a farm, toasting marshmallows on an open fire and den building.
  • HealthyMe holiday camp at Sheriff Hutton Primary School in Ryedale, which uses exciting and engaging activities to teach children practical lessons on healthy living. Activities focus on mental and social wellbeing awareness, nutrition, team skills and physical activities.

Many of the activities are accessible for families of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND.) They include S&B Sensory in Harrogate, which is a therapeutic sensory centre designed to be inclusive to everyone.

The centre was established in January 2020, by Steph Francique and Beckie Fajfer, who have a background in working with children with additional needs. They wanted to create a safe space where children and families with a range of ages and additional needs could take part in enjoyable activities and meet other families.

The centre will be offering sports activities accessible to children with disabilities, including treasure hunts, water fights and assault courses and activities to improve mental health and tackle anxiety, such as feeding and petting the centre’s Flemish Giant rabbit and guinea pigs, where children can learn how to care for animals and look after them.

Ms Fajfer said: “We specialise in sensory-based therapy. Our holiday clubs involve sessions which are a little less structured because some children with additional needs may struggle with that.

“The majority of the children who come here have Special Educational Needs or Disabilities, ranging from severe needs or complex behaviour to something quite mild, or anxiety. The important thing is everyone who comes here is welcome.”

The FEAST North Yorkshire holiday scheme was first launched last year, over the summer holidays, when 15,909 holiday clubs places were provided in the county.

Executive Member for Education and Skills, Cllr Annabel Wilkinson said; “North Yorkshire is fortunate to have many people and organisations running holiday clubs. They care passionately about providing fun activities and entertainment for our children and support families and their local communities.

“It is important that over the long summer break children can access healthy food and activities and socialise with other children and adults in a safe environment.  I’d like to thank all the providers who have signed up to FEAST North Yorkshire. We know schemes like this can make a great difference to children and their families.”

The North Yorkshire Together website contains online resources and inspiration for activities all families can enjoy over the holidays, as well as a directory of holiday clubs taking place in the county.