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High praise from happy children for county council’s winter holiday activity scheme

Thousands of children from low-income families enjoyed a week of fun, friends and food as part of Staffordshire’s Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) winter programme. 


The county council run scheme saw 80 individual Staffordshire clubs deliver a variety of activities from Tuesday 2 January to Friday 5 January. Some providers started early, hosting activities from 28 December. 


Twelve thousand places were made available to over 23,000 eligible children aged between five and 16 who receive benefits-related free school meals. 


A healthy meal was provided with every place booked on the programme, which is funded by the Department for Education. 


Some of the activities on offer included swimming, aerial arts and dance, gardening, paintballing, swimming, dodgems and even a trip to Ninja Warrior UK. 


AJ Tranter, aged nine, said: “I’ve enjoyed the go karting and all the prizes and sports equipment that I get and football.” 


Donte Lauder, aged 12, said: “I’ve enjoyed Ninja Warrior, paintballing and all the prizes and taking us out.” 


Mark Sutton, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Children and Young People, visited several clubs throughout the programme including Sports Cool Wolverhampton at Brewood Community Hub. 


There, children got to interact with a variety of animals including snakes, Madagascan cockroaches, an owl, a lizard, a skunk and a bearded dragon. 


Mark said: “The children had a fantastic time getting close and friendly with the animals. Activities like this are good for their development and mental wellbeing, and it keeps them away from their screens. 


“I am so pleased with the feedback we have had from the children who took part in the winter programme with many saying they enjoyed learning new skills and making friends. 


“We have now given over 199,000 HAF programme places to children from low-income families since we launched it in 2021. We hope to continue to grow this offer so that no Staffordshire child goes without during the school holidays.” 


Sarah Tunnicliffe, from Sports Cool Wolverhampton, said: “HAF is an amazing programme and we’re proud to be involved in its delivery. 


“The benefits of the scheme to those who need it most have, without doubt, proved invaluable.” 


Staffordshire County Council’s Here To Help campaign focuses on sharing information, advice and support to help residents manage cost-of-living pressures.



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