Thousands of children benefit from summer holiday programme

Published: Friday, 5th November 2021

The largest and most ambitious programme aimed at addressing holiday hunger, inactivity, isolation and learning loss has proved hugely successful over the summer.

Bring it on Brum is the city’s Holiday Activity and Food programme that ran over the summer using government funding, with six weeks’ of holiday club provision, healthy food and activities for children and young people aged 5 to 16 who are eligible for free school meals and have additional needs.

The programme resulted in:

  • 365,504 meals provided
  • 172,559 attendances
  • 32,240 individual children engaged
  • 278 holiday clubs
  • 243 holiday club providers

Children took part in a wide range of enriching activities which supported their wellbeing as well as their wider education. Parents and carers were given information about how to cook healthy recipes on a budget and signposted to local family services. Youngsters have also had the chance to carry on sports and physical activities beyond the holidays.

Cllr Jayne Francis, cabinet member for education, skills and culture, said: “The success of the summer has really illustrated the ability of the city to come together around a common issue, working as one to address the disadvantage faced by so many parents and families during holiday periods. The work behind the scenes and the effort of every holiday club provider is recognised and appreciated. The smiles on the faces of every child tells the story of the opportunity to access activities and experiences which they would not have had without the programme.”

Cllr Sharon Thompson, cabinet member for children and vulnerable families, said: “It was really important we had a city-wide approach and given the high levels of child poverty in Birmingham we got approval to extend the scheme beyond those eligible for free school meals. This meant we could work with families most in need, including those directly impacted by Covid. I’d like to add my thanks to all involved; their ‘can do’ attitude ensured children and families had access to then holiday provision they needed.”

Examples of holiday club activities:

Digbeth Dining Club

A number of videos were produced of Digbeth Dining traders, providing a range of healthy cooking ideas, effective ways to use leftovers, teach and upskill children, families and other citizens through food knowledge, and their love of cooking.

The Active Wellbeing Society (TAWS)

Online ‘LIVE’ family cook-along sessions. To try and influence parent behaviour and confidence around purchasing and preparing healthy meals, in partnership with TAWS, ‘Bring it on Brum!’ hosted eight online LIVE cook a-long sessions.

Kings Heath Boys’ School

The school provided multi-sport physical activity sessions throughout the 2021 summer holidays, after receiving HAF funding. Plenty of physical activities were undertaken including dance, football, cricket, gymnastics and fitness. Art and design sessions were also offered where young people could relax mentally.

The summer programme was independently evaluated by the University of Northumbria’s leading academics in Holiday Hunger and Food Insecurity. The team looked at how well the programme achieved its objectives, the impact on children, young people and their parents.

The Winter Programme will be delivered between 20 and 27 December. Local activity providers are currently being invited to apply for small grants up to the value of £20k to deliver enriching activities along with food for children on free school meals. The grants application process is currently open and will close on Sunday 21 November.

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