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Free summer activity programme

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A photo of a child enjoying football on the beach

Parents and carers living in Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland may be eligible to benefit from a free holiday clubs programme for children and young people over the school summer holidays.

Xplore 'Summer Club 21', which is part of the Government's Holiday Activities and Food programme (HAF), will be available throughout South Tees this summer.

Funded by The Department for Education, the local programme launches this week and is targeted at those who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals.

The holiday clubs are a fantastic opportunity for primary and secondary school-aged children to make friends and enjoy fun activities, helping them develop new skills, improve socialisation, participate in creative and physical activities, learn about food and cooking and enjoy free nutritious meals each day.

The Government's investment in the HAF programme will build on the foundations laid by Middlesbrough Council, Redcar & Cleveland Council, sporting organisations, charities and the voluntary sector during the Easter holidays.

It means eligible children can access the equivalent of four weeks' worth of activities throughout the summer holidays, including specific provisions available for children with SEND or additional needs, at no cost.

The initiative runs alongside the £200 million funding announced in February to provide summer schools to help pupils who have experienced the most disruption due to the pandemic.

Locally based charity, The Junction, which exists to make a difference to the lives of children, young people and their families, has been appointed to manage the delivery of the activity programme across South Tees.

Beth Major, CEO of The Junction, said: "This year has continued to be a difficult time for many families locally, so being able to offer a free holiday club provision for those who need it most is especially important.

"We've coordinated lots of different providers throughout Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland, meaning families will be able to access a variety of activities, and we can support more children over the holidays with healthy meals, fun activities, and learning opportunities."

Andrew Forsey, Chair of the HAF Alliance, added: "The importance of an enriching holiday experience for all children cannot be underestimated. 

"There is evidence that the best HAF programmes benefit children, parents and communities by enabling children to learn new skills, socialise with friends, and enjoy nutritious food in a safe environment while supporting their return to school and alleviating parental stress.

"The HAF Alliance is sharing its expertise and best practice with local authorities to help them to develop and deliver excellent holiday programmes for their local communities."

Parents and carers who think their children and young people are eligible and might benefit from free holiday clubs should visit The Junction website for guidance on how to apply and find out what's available or telephone 01642 756000.

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