HAF SUMMER 21
Worcestershire Children's First Partnership
Holiday Activities and Food Fund was set up to support free school meal families access a provision of free activities and food over the holiday period. Whether that be the summer, Christmas or Easter. The fund allowed AYOS to launch its pilot holiday club with three venues across the Wyre Forest, to expand its reach to local businesses and connected with organisations that are operating in the Wyre Forest.
Over the summer, specific to this project, we engaged with over two-hundred and fifty children aged 3 – 12. Our system was slightly different to the conventional way that was set up by the HAF fund. There approach was for four days of delivery per week, for four hours a day, for four weeks (4x4x4). This approach would not have worked for us, our provision is too small to cater for continuous delivery of up to sixteen days. We worked out that we could complete a four day for four hours approach to delivery, which allowed us to engage with a venue at least once a week.
The venues that we included in our delivery included, Offmore Primary School, Birchen Coppice Primary Academy and St Anne’s Fun House. Unfortunately, we couldn’t deliver in Stourport-on-Severn due to COVID at the time of planning, however, we aim to support a club in the winter aiming around Stourport.
Aims of the HAF project:
- Children to be actively involved in most activities
- Children eat / have access to a healthy meal during the day
- Children develop physically and socially during the club
- To create a safe place for children to be themselves
- Staff enjoy the work environment and are open to share new ideas
It is important to note that the staff team were only formed one week before the start of the project. Only a couple knew each other outside of the workplace. It was also important that any previous experience that staff members had been put into the holiday club, to give the best experience to those taking part.
Advertising this project was like nothing that we have done before. The project was aimed at free school meal children. We had to be selective we who we advertised to, we had to understand the different communities that surround the schools and we had to decide which schools were the most in need.
With support from Wyre Forest District Council, Worcestershire Children’s First and Worcestershire County Council, we were able to pinpoint areas that would benefit most from our activities. At this point, we didn’t know the families, we didn’t know how they were distributed across the community. This is where it was important to gain contact within the school.
Birchen Coppice was the only stand-alone club that we delivered to the community. All promotion for the summer was relatively easy. Following gaining at connect within the school, it was just a case of creating a flyer and sharing a digital copy. This was the same for all of the locations. Most of the locations already had children to sign on to the system and so was easy to get children into the club. Some locations advertised internally as they knew the children that the club would most benefit.
Delivery of sessions
Birchen Coppice Primary Academy
This was our longest campaign over the summer. Any spaces we had over the summer with regards to dates, this venue had them. Early on we regarded this site as most in-need and so would be the location that we would throw most of resources at. Having not worked at the Coppice for a long time, we did not know the children or the impact that COVID has had on the area.
Throughout the seven days that we were at the Coppice, we worked with West Mercia Police, Stiklings CIC, White Socks CIC, Dance-fest, and Worcestershire County Council. All of these organisations played a special part in the summer, to offer a range of activities, that by the last week, children would still engage with.
In the morning sign in would take place at the bottom gate and the children would use the bottom playground as a space to play for the first thirty minutes. After this, a morning brief would be given, children put into groups (young and older) and participate in 45 minute sessions. At around twelve, there would be a 30/45-minute break, where, thanks to the community café, meals were provided that suited the children’s needs and fruit was provided for by Friends of AYOS.
Different activities would be delivered in the afternoon, over a similar time period. After this we utilised the hub to sign children out as it was the safest method. After a team debrief and a quick clean up, the OFC (Operations and Fundraising Coordinator) would take the notes on and prepare for the next day.
For the majority of days, we had around twenty-five children attend the holiday club. The last week dropped off engagement, but we believe this was due to families going on holiday.
Offmore Primary School
Throughout our time here (four days), we were able to bring in Stiklings CIC and Unite TKD to support the delivery of sessions. AYOS delivered alongside these organisations in the same format that was delivered at the Coppice. The great thing about Offmore is that numbers remained the same throughout the summer and was easier to plan in the morning, the types of activities we were going to deliver. We were able to deliver our full provision to Offmore, with some added extras which included the development of our bushcraft and orienteering activities.
Both organisations that we worked with on site were excellent with the children, and whilst it was challenging for some, most of the children were engaged with the activities that we had to offer.
Overall, the average amount of children that we engaged over the summer here was 15/30 children on site, however of those attending 50% were not FSM children (free school meal).
St Anne’s Fun house
Each venue is distinctively different from the other, St Anne’s Fun house, in Bewedly, makes no difference to this. This is a charity organisation that works just outside of St Anne’s to deliver wrap around care for children and young people in the surrounding area. Through using our contacts in the WFDC we were able to contact the funhouse and start planning the delivery.
On delivery days we worked with Unite TKD and as the same as our other venues, we split the morning up, in total the children would get four, forty-five-minute sessions, two from Unite TKD and two from AYOS.
The main challenge on site was the ages of the children, we are vast number of children under the age of nine, we had to alter our provision to suit the needs of the children. Bush-craft and team challenge ran well, however, keeping them engaged for orienteering was another thing. Here we developed a treasure hunt activity, with an actual treasure box, which they were all more than engaged with. Archery was another challenge, due to the safety of archery some of the children couldn’t take part in the session. We are currently looking at sucker archery to support getting younger children involved with the sport.
- Understanding the community and what activities they would most like to see for their children
- Possible extension to the time of the holiday club to cater for over-running of sessions
- Supporting the purchase of new equipment to engage a lower aged audience
This summer wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work that our staff term and partnership members put in. Their engaging and enthusiastic work does not go unnoticed and each and every one who was involved over the summer is a credit to this organisation. We have hopefully developed stronger links into the local community and organisations, to which we hope we can call upon in the future.
Special thanks to Piccolos in Bewdley for making up and delivering sandwiches to our St Anne’s site, Mark Bennett for supplying us with enough fruit for all the children we worked with and Brook Hire Kidderminster for giving us a good deal on a van hire for the summer (Supported by DY10 Big Local – to assist with summer delivery).
Totals of activity delivery
Total Unique Participants 121
Total Session Attendance 273
Total Sessions Booked 454
Total Participants with Sen 4
Participants In Primary School 97%
Participants In Secondary School 3%
Participants Eligible for FSM 61%
Participants With EHCP 5%