The Minister for Children and Families, Vicky Ford, visited the county to learn about the Department for Education funded schemes which provide free activities and food to support eligible children during the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays this year.
The minister was joined by the Children’s Commissioner for England and Wales, Dame Rachel Da Souza, and East Sussex MPs Sally Ann-Hart, Huw Merriman and Caroline Ansell, as well as the leader of the county council Cllr Keith Glazier and the lead member for education, and inclusion, special educational needs and disability, Cllr Bob Standley.
During the visit on Monday, August 23, Mrs Ford visited activities in St Leonards-on-Sea, Sidley and Eastbourne including:
- Hastings & Rother YMCA providing arts and crafts, multisport and cooking to children aged between eight and 16
- Culture Shift offering ‘Get Creative – Get Digital’ coding programmes with Tech Resort for seven to 11-year-olds, and ‘Space to Create’ arts and outdoor creative activities for children aged five to seven
- Heart of Sidley’s ‘Sidley Tourist Board’ where children aged between 10 and 16, working with a team from De La Warr Pavilion, explore Sidley, get creative and reimagine their neighbourhood
- Hands of Hope’s healthy food van which has been providing healthy food for all Heart of Sidley & Culture Shift Sidley activities over the summer
- Buzz Active, an East Sussex County Council managed centre providing a four-day water sport course for children aged between 11 and 16
- Make (Good) Trouble who have been running a Media Production Club for young people aged 12 to 16
Cllr Keith Glazier said: “We have been delighted to welcome the high-level visit from Minister Ford, the Children’s Commissioner and some of our local MPs to East Sussex this week.
“The DfE funded Holiday Food and Fun programme has been serving up a menu of fun, healthy activities and nutritious meals to local children over the last few weeks. 70 providers have offered a fun activities and nutritious food at 85 locations this summer.
“The visit has showcased the fantastic work that the additional government funding has enabled and illustrates the positive impact the holiday activities food and fun projects have on children and their families.”
The additional funding has enabled the development of positive new partnerships, between the activity providers themselves and between activity providers and local schools, allowing greater collaboration within local communities.
Cllr Glazier continued: “The programme scheme demonstrates the huge benefits of partnership working when there is increased investment and dedicated funding for holiday activity provision.
“If the funding were to continue, we would support and develop these partnerships to benefit young people during the school holidays.”
Children and Families Minister, Vicky Ford said: “It has been absolutely fantastic to be here in East Sussex today to children and young people having the best time at their Holiday Activities and Food clubs, all funded by our national programme.
“I have been able to see first-hand how our expanded programme, running every region across England is supporting thousands of pupils and East Sussex County Council’s work with their schools, holiday clubs and activity providers will be hugely beneficial to their children’s wellbeing and enrichment, especially those who need in the most.”
Through the county council’s summer holiday activity and food programme, which is funded by the Department for Education, 70 providers have offered a range of activities along with nutritious food and snacks, at 85 locations county wide during July and August.
The summer holiday clubs have offered 7,000 free places for children aged between five and 16 who receive benefits related free school-meals.
For more information on the summer Holiday Food and Fun programme visit eastsussex.gov.uk/holidayactivities