Free vacation clubs are essential for families

A South Tyneside woman described a scheme that gives struggling families access to free holiday clubs during school holidays as a “godsend”.

Sharon Lamb and her sons Zach, five, and Lucas, three, have made good use of the clubs run by the Council and its members over the holidays, which she says have been fun and enjoyable, as well as a great help to relieve boredom. .

Funded by the Department for Education, the clubs are free to people between the ages of five and 16 who receive free school meals or whose families are experiencing financial difficulties. The clubs, which include a free nutritious meal, are further proof that the Council is delivering on its priority of supporting families.

Sharon, 48, from South Shields, said: “We used to do festive activities through the children’s centers when the kids were babies and toddlers. As they got older they love being outside and always ask where we’re going.” .

“I contacted the Council to ask if Lucas could come with me and they told me he was welcome at a few specific ones as long as he was supervised. That has made things a lot easier and both boys have really enjoyed the activities.”

Zach and Lucas have enjoyed clay cookers, sandboxes and a street dance class at Brockley Avenue Allotment, as well as a variety of games and crafts at Sun Dial, Action Stations on Boldon Lane and Marsden Health Centre. Both children have enjoyed a nutritious meal that is a central element of the vacation clubs.

Sharon, a single mother, added, “A friend got excited about the holiday events last summer, but Zach was too young to get into them. This summer, as he’s five, we’ve booked a lot. I can honestly say they’ve been a treat.” It’s been such a relief not having to worry about the cost of going out and entertaining them every day.Normally I would have run out of money by now but this year I managed just fine and that’s mostly because of these clubs.

“We will certainly be using these clubs again for other school holidays. I cannot recommend them highly enough.”

Councilor Adam Ellison, Senior Fellow for Children, Young People and Families, said, “With the cost of living crisis putting extreme pressure on families, it’s great to see summer vacation activities and food clubs providing much-needed relief for families.

“These clubs are proving to be a lifesaver for many families as their children have fun, learn new skills and make new friends.”

The clubs will take place in various places in the municipality until Friday, September 2. To find out more about the clubs or to book a visit visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/holidayclub or email [email protected]

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