Hundreds of children in Stockport are heading back to school with full tummies and hearts thanks to the Life Leisure Healthy Activities and Food programme.
The Stockport leisure provider ran special summer camps at Brinnington Park, Avondale, Dialstone and Stockport Sports Village, as part of the Department of Education’s Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) programme to provide healthy food and enriching activities to all children.
Children and young people who are entitled to benefits related free school meals took priority, however funded places were awarded to children and young people who are from a disadvantaged area, are vulnerable or have Special Educational Needs or Disabilities.
Almost 300 kids took part in the sessions throughout the summer holidays, run by Life Leisure’s Active Communities Team, which included lunch and a whole range of activities led by qualified coaches.
Mum Amy Slater, pictured with children James and Lily who attended the Brinnington Park Camps, said:
“The HAF groups have been amazing for me and my children.
“They’ve provided a fun and safe environment for them to play and make friends, whilst also making sure they’re getting regular exercise and eating healthily.
“It especially works well for us as a working family because it has given my children the opportunity to enjoy themselves and make friends in a safe environment, rather than them being stuck in at home whilst we have to work.”
Amy, who organised the first ever Brinnington Park yard sale trail, said:
“The fact that is no cost for them to attend is amazing as not many families can afford to send their children to a holiday camp during the holidays and this has provided so much help and support to the children and families of the community!”
The summer events also included a specific camp aimed at children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
Ross McGuigan, Active Communities Manager from Life Leisure, said:
“School holidays can be particular pressure points for some families who struggle to find childcare and meet increased costs of feeding children at home.
“Our passion for keeping the community healthy goes beyond the four walls of our leisure centres so we are delighted to have done our bit to help both children and parents relax and enjoy their summer holidays. It has been wonderful to see so many happy faces over the summer!”
“Our first full summer SEND Holiday Camp has also been praised by many parents who would usually struggle to find provision during school holidays, this is definitely something we’d love to do more of too!”
The camps were support by Cracking Good Food, who supplied the meals, and Manchester United Foundation and Stockport County Community Foundation, who supported the activities alongside Life Leisure’s Activity Communities Team.