Holiday Programme is Summer Hit with Local Young People
Thousands of young in Blackburn with Darwen benefitted from a bonanza of activities through the Government’s Holiday Activities and Food programme (HAF) since 2021.
Backed by a nationwide investment of around £200 million, the HAF programme runs across all local authority areas during the school holidays, as well as Easter and Christmas. The local programme, which was launched locally in April 2021, is targeted at those who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals.
The One Voice Blackburn summer Holiday Club returned for a third year providing an invaluable opportunity for young people and parents during non-academic periods of the year. Our HAF programme ensures young people continue to engage in meaningful and fun.
The Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme provides healthy and nutritious meals and enriching activities for young people from low income families. Research has found that young people from a low income background generally miss out on accessing organised out of school activities as well as physical activity.
After seeing the increase in numbers of young people accessing the service, we now operate at Blackburn College which is both convenient and easily accessible for many of our young people.
We had a staggering 400 young people registered onto the programme throughout the summer ranging from the ages of 4-16 years. Each group was accompanied by volunteers from our West End Girls group and 20/20 Vision. This year we provided volunteer opportunities for a number of ladies from Blackburn job centre. This was great for their development and increased their skills that they can now use for future job opportunities.
This year activities included swimming, arcade day, beauty day, inflatable day, digital day, splash camp and much more. There is a strong focus on sports and physical activity at the holiday club. Research has found that children exercise more on the days they attend holiday clubs and enjoy it with less screentime and a wider variety of activities than they would otherwise have during the holidays.
Operations Manager at One Voice Blackburn Nina Khan said, “At the 1V Summer Holiday Club we ensure each group has a minimum of 1-hour physical activity or sport during each day. We have a range of activities on offer including circuit training, football, dodgeball, and fun street style games for our younger groups. There are also opportunities to get involved in cardio sessions, yoga, and general fitness sessions.
“A major aspect of the holiday club is the food we provide for the young people. We understand that it can be challenging for parents to provide a well-balanced and nutritious meal for their children when they are at home for six weeks of the summer. Every child at the holiday club is provided with nutritious food, including a sandwich/wrap, variety of fruits, cereal bars, water, and juices.”