Children and young people can take part in a free summer holiday activity scheme thanks to more than £400,000 of funding secured by Bath & North East Somerset Council.
The BreakOut programme brings a multitude of sporting and creative activities to young people aged 5-16 who are in receipt of free school meals over the holiday period, along with free and nutritious meals each day.
BreakOut is being led by Bath Rugby Foundation, working in partnership with Youth Connect South West, Bath Area Play Project and FareShare South West and a number of delivery partners. Activities are taking place at a wide range of venues across B&NES.
Bath & North East Somerset Council received more than £414,000 from the Government’s Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme to fund BreakOut to run during this year’s summer holidays and Christmas holidays. An additional £40,000 funded the programme which ran in the Easter holidays.
The programme helps children to stay active over the holidays, reduce isolation and eat more healthily. It also aims to ensure that children, young people and families have a greater knowledge of health and nutrition and can be signposted to other health, employment and education support where needed.
BreakOut is for all children who receive benefits-related free school meals and live in B&NES. It is also available for children and young people with additional vulnerabilities who may not be in receipt of free school meals, including children in need, looked after children and those with a child protection plan.
Councillor Dine Romero, cabinet member for Children and Young People, Communities and Culture, said: “This is such an important initiative after the significant disruption our young people have faced during the pandemic. I’m delighted that BreakOut will support children who are most in need to keep active, eat healthily and continue to socialise when they are not in school. Thank you to all the partners involved for helping to support the wellbeing of young people in B&NES.”
Speaking on behalf of the partnership, Lynne Fernquest, Bath Rugby Foundation, CEO said: “It is proven that if a child experiences hunger for a prolonged period during the school holidays that the inequality already in existence between children from wealthier and poorer backgrounds grows even wider.
“To make this story even harder to hear, those young people most at risk of holiday hunger are more likely to suffer from social isolation and, loneliness. The devastating impact of the pandemic on the mental and physical health of families on low incomes, disengaged teenagers and young adults is only now starting to become clear.
“However, programmes and partnerships like this one bring hope. I have seen first-hand the incredible difference a community can make when it comes together to solve its problems. Right now, I am proud to say that B&NES and its partners are doing just that, and change is happening.”
BreakOut is delivered through morning hubs where children aged 5-11 years can enjoy physical and social activities followed by a nutritious lunch. There will also be “Teen Breakout” afternoon/evening hubs for young people aged 12 – 16, access to outdoor adventure trips and Family Hubs where families can attend play opportunities across local parks. Food parcels will also be available for parents and carers when they collect their children from sessions.
The hubs are running throughout the summer holidays across a wide range of areas covering Bath, Midsomer Norton and Keynsham.