Pantomimes, cooking sessions and festive arts and crafts are some of the free activities that children, primarily eligible for benefits-related free school meals, can enjoy across Oldham this winter.
This comes part of the borough’s latest Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme, which takes place over the upcoming school holidays – December 18 to January 7.
The programme, funded by the Department for Education, offers a wide range of exciting activities for children aged between 5 and 16, and each activity includes a healthy hot meal.
These activities, on offer from local providers, aim to support young people to socialise with people of a similar age while they have a great time learning and playing new, fun, physical and enriching sessions. Children will also get to learn about healthy eating and the preparation of food so they can put it into practice when they go home.
Places are available from many providers for children and young people who are not eligible for free school meals, although this may come at a cost and parents are advised to check with the provider before making their booking.
Councillor Eddie Moore, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “We are really excited to offer another fantastic programme of activities for our children and young people over the school holidays and I’d like to thank all of the providers who have come forward with their support.
“Not only will our children and young people be able to stay active, as they participate in new games and activities which they may never have done before, they are also getting a healthy hot meal which is incredibly important.
“It’s vital that our families feel supported during the school holidays as we know the pressures it can bring, so I would urge all parents to have a look at what’s going on with their children and start booking your places as soon as possible.”
In addition to Oldham’s winter HAF programme, Oldham Council would like to remind families, who may be struggling this winter, to seek support through the local authority.
“We know this time of year can be really hard, especially for low-income families and those who may be working extra hours to make ends meet,” Cllr Moores added.
“While our winter HAF programme goes some way to supporting families in these situations, we would also urge anyone who is in a position where they may be struggling, to come forward.
“As part of our We Can Help campaign, we and our partners have a range of advice and support readily available on a number of issues including welfare and mental wellbeing, financial advice and other topics such as how we can support you with your heating and how you can access emergency food. There’s also information on food vouchers that are available this winter for families of children eligible for means-tested Free School Meals.
“Please do not suffer in silence, let us help you and your families this winter."
For more information on how you can book your child’s places as part of our winter HAF programme, please visit www.oldham.gov.uk/HAF and for more details on our full offer of winter support visit www.oldham.gov.uk/wecanhelp