Holiday activities on offer this Easter for thousands of children in Manchester

Thousands of children and young people in Manchester will be able to take part in a programme of holiday activities over Easter that is targeted at those who receive free school meals.

Activities will be available across the city in schools, youth centres, adventure playgrounds and parks, with eligible children and young people invited through their schools or youth providers to take part.

A wide range of activities will be on offer - from sports and adventure play, to the arts and well-being - and each session will also include the provision of healthy snacks to help keep energy levels up and to help make sure no-one is going hungry whilst schools are closed for the holidays.

In addition to being given the chance to take part in the activity programme with other children and young people, 22,000 'play-scheme in a bag' kits are being sent out to all primary school children who are eligible for benefits related free school meals.

Each of the bags includes a selection of fun stuff - such as skipping ropes, frisbees, and arts and craft equipment - to help children enjoy themselves and make the most of their time off school.

In Manchester there currently 31000 children and young people in the city who receive benefits related free school meals.

It's hoped that the holiday activity programme will help improve children's health and well-being, help rebuild their resilience, and also help tackle the social isolation that many children and young people have felt over the last year.

Councillor Luthfur Rahman, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Skills, Manchester City Council, said:  "This year has been a really tough year for everyone, but it has been even harder than ever for the thousands of children and young people in the city whose families were struggling to survive even before the pandemic hit.

"We're determined to do everything we can to help make life better for them and help improve their health, their well-being, and resilience. We hope that taking part in these activities over the school holidays will at least give them back a sense of fun and enjoyment after having had to spend the best part of the last year at home - often in difficult circumstances - and away from their friends."

Parents whose children receive benefits related free school meals will be invited by their school to take part in the scheme, and will then need to pre-book their child onto their chosen activity sessions.

The holiday scheme has been funded by the Department for Education through its national Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) scheme.

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