Barnsley Healthy Holidays has had another successful year as the 2020 activity programme draws to an end. The council's Area Teams have been working with partners to support families who may have needed extra support to access food and activities to keep them healthy through the holiday period.
This year, the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic has seen families affected by financial hardship. To make sure the holidays were healthy, safe, and to encourage communities to come together to have fun and support one another during these difficult times, the Area Teams have been on hand with activities and support.
The programme worked in partnership with established voluntary community groups, charities and partners to support healthy summer holidays. Supported by funding from Feeding Britain, Good Food Barnsley, FareShare Yorkshire, Barnsley Council, Public Health, Area Teams, Ward Alliances, local donors, charities and funding from the UK Government, the programme has been available to hundreds of children and families.
Cllr Jenny Platts, Cabinet Spokesperson for Adults and Communities, said: "We are pleased of what has been achieved when working alongside our partners and have delivered fantastic summer activities for children and families across the borough. It has been wonderful to see communities and council services supporting each other and looking after children and family’s health, physical activity levels, educational progress and social skills."
The council's Area Teams have worked to understand the requirements across the borough and have joined up with partners and Ward Alliances to deliver localised offers for the different areas. This year, the way the Healthy Holidays scheme was delivered had changed to meet COVID-19 (Coronavirus) safety restrictions. Take a look at a small overview of what has been achieved in each area below:
Teams have worked with partners to identify families who may have benefited from extra support with food and recipe cards that provide a step by step guide to making low cost, easy meals. These tasty dishes are healthy family favourites and contain at least one of the recommended five fruit and vegetables a day. Working in partnership with Fairshare, a charity network aimed at relieving food poverty and reducing food waste in the UK, packed lunches were made available for the families.
Shopping lists were also distributed to help families make easy and filling meals. The Central Area Team have had huge success hosting interactive activities including live cooking video streaming and polls for tasty and healthy recipes to make at home on their Facebook page.
The Dearne Area Team have worked alongside family centres to provide access to food for families that had been identified in the area. They've delivered ingredients to families and held virtual cooking classes, so making healthy, hearty meals were easy and sociable. To help keep people healthy, the team have provided over 400 fruit and veg boxes delivered by Smiths Fruit Store. Along with the food parcels, Active Dearne and the council's Public Health team have also donated activity packs.
The North Area Team had been working in partnership with Athersley Family Centre, Ad Astra and Athersley Community Shop. Food parcels were delivered to families that had been identified for extra support to make sure the six-week holidays were as healthy as possible. Recipe cards and cook along opportunities were also provided online to help the community stay connected. The partners also delivered lots of activities for families, including creative arts, fun and fitness, feel-good health, local area information and science workshops.
Athersley Family Centre hosted interactive sessions throughout the summer, with COVID-safe bubbles and activity sessions at the centre that included a packed lunch. 23 local families are have been supported with food parcels, with ingredients to make a healthy family meal, including a recipe card and also an oven dish.
The Community Shop has been open for families to collect children’s lunch bags and hosting live videos fr families to join in with. These videos included cooking with a chef, exercise with a personal trainer and wellbeing with a mentor. To support the families on this programme, they were provided with weekly packages filled with ingredients for the cooking sessions and children’s snack bags. The community shop has also been matching the £15 free school meals voucher with an additional £15, totalling £30 to spend (this offer has been available to anyone claiming free school meals summer vouchers).
Ad Astra’s food parcel delivery included a weekly activity pack, different each time. These have been delivered to 30 families in the St Helen’s Ward and 30 families in the Old Town Ward each week. They have also been hosting family walk and chat sessions and meetups in local parks, which have been a great way to stay connected while following social distance guidelines.
North East Area
The North East Area Team have been working with the family centre to deliver sessions for small groups of people for a nature walk, treasure hunt and movies outdoors, with a healthy packed lunch. The Healthy Food programme has also proved to be a great hit, with ten more families benefiting from the use of a slow cooker and healthy ingredients on a weekly basis.
From the fourth week of the summer holidays, The North East Team have provided Breakfast Bags for families who had been referred through their existing networks of community groups, youth groups, food banks, churches, and partner organisations. This bag contained cereals, crumpets, jam, margarine, tea, items of fruit and a £5 Aldi voucher for food or baby supplies. They also contained an activity pack including an activity booklet and crayons.
Ad Astra in Royston has supported 30 young people in the area with social distancing activities like community picnics, making bird feeders and taking care of the local community with litter picking. Exodus has supported young people from Cudworth and Brierley with social distancing day camps with arts and crafts, pond dipping, games and sport. GAZ has also had small groups of young people by invitation for arts and crafts activity, competitions, table tennis, computer, music games and healthy packed lunch. The Great Houghton Youth Group held small sessions for young people to take part in intergenerational activities, including writing letters to elderly people, drawing them pictures, baking for them. They also held arts and crafts activities with access to healthy lunch packs.
The South Area Team have supported families across the South Area with 40 cook and eat packages, funded for families identified across the South Area by the family centres. These packages included equipment, recipe cards and ingredients to cover six family meals during the school summer holidays.
The team have also offered free fruit and veg packs to those living in the South Area who have been financially affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. The scheme has been facilitated by the Area Team and funded by the FareShare and Healthier Communities.
In Darfield, the South Area Team arranged packed lunches, individual meals or fruit vouchers for children from families identified by local Primary schools. They also arranged weekly arts and craft activity for the children and feel-good activities for adults. Working with Netherwood ALC, Exodus project and Darfield Youth Group young people and their families had been identified to receive support for food parcels and lunch boxes.
The Darfield Ward Alliance provided KS1 and KS2 Healthy Holiday activity packs for 124 children that were identified. This included an educational workbook, fun activity and some healthy snacks. The packs also included information and advice for the adults about COVID-19 and what help and support was available to them. The Darfield Ward Alliance also provided Family Wellbeing packs to 41 families which included a range of different activities for both children and grown-ups to reduce stress with colouring books and puzzles. They also included a shopping voucher to help support families financially with the cost of their weekly shop.
25 Go Explore mini activity packs were also distributed by the Ward Alliance to encourage families to have fun outdoors with bug hunts, bird watches and bug gliders. The Area Team also arranged for a ‘Go Discover’ Trail to go up in Darfield Park to encourage families to make the most of this local green space.
In Wombwell, the Ward Alliance had been working with volunteers to offer healthy packed lunches or ingredients and recipe cards for families to provide extra support over the summer holidays. They also developed a 'Discovering Wombwell' Family Walking guide to encourage physical activity. This included four local walks with maps drawn by a volunteer, as well as word searches, crosswords and a photo quiz. This booklet was distributed with the support of volunteers at three local sites on the first week of the school holidays. 300 Skipping ropes and scratch’n’catch ball pads were also distributed. 144 activity packs were shared to help with homeschooling. On three alternate Tuesdays during the school holidays, 44 fruit and vegetable boxes to families that had been identified, this was supported by volunteers.
In Hoyland Milton and Rockingham, the Ward Alliance supplied activity and information packs to 40 families with activities for children in KS1 and 2 and information about where to seek help and advice. The HMR Ward Alliance made activity packs for 20 children and included a voucher to help with food. The Ward Alliance contributed towards the costs of a nature trail in the fields belonging to a local primary school. This project included developing a vegetable garden for vulnerable families to work together to maintain and use the vegetables they had grown. This project was led by the PSA with some green-fingered volunteers.
20 packs for KS3 pupils, were distributed by the Targeted Youth Support Team, with age-appropriate information about the importance of good hygiene to reduce the spread of COVID-19, hand gel, face covering, snack and activity.
HMR promoted the ‘Go Discover’ Trail which had been put up around Jump (park and village) with the help of volunteers from the Jump Environmental Group to keep families active over the summer.
The Penistone Area Team worked with primary schools to identify 26 children to receive an educational activity pack. Local business, Generation Café, donated one hot or cold meal for every child receiving an activity pack. The team worked with the council's Sports and Recreation team to arrange for a Go Discover trail to be put up in Watermeadows Park to encourage families to get outdoors and make the most of this lovely green space.