The aim is to have regular stay and play sessions on a weekly basis in the school holidays to meet, share, play, cook and provide lunch bags, reducing isolation and offering practical support to families.
“It’s brilliant – it helps that it is free because money is tight and you can spend a fortune keeping the kids entertained.” (Parent)
Big Kirk Hallam has long been concerned about support to children and families in the holidays. After much exploring of options, looking at what another Big Local area had done and seizing the opportunity of partnership with Fare Share and Derbyshire County Council, the Stay and Play Holiday club was set up with the commitment and energy of residents, the plan co-ordinator and community centre development worker.
“We’re on a low income so the free food bag is a real help. If we had to pay for the session we wouldn’t be able to attend.” (Parent)
The sessions run between 10.00am and 1.00pm, providing a range of craft activities as well as toys and games, encouraging children to play together and sharing activities with their parent or carer. Parents have commented:
“It’s good that there is something for the littler ones too – wish it were more often.”
“It’s good because it gets the kids out of the house and away from the TV.”
“My children love it.”
The sessions provide an opportunity for parents and carers to meet up in a social situation, combating social isolation often experienced during school holidays. As the activities and food are provided free of charge the aim is to combat holiday hunger, food poverty, boredom and social isolation. Healthy snacks, as well as lunch bags, are provided for each child, much appreciated by those taking part.
“My son is an only child so it’s a good way for him to socialise.”
“Food is always good, fresh and tasty.”
“The lunch bags are a good idea.”
Stay and Play attracted 82 children and 40 adults during February half term with a Chinese New Year theme, including making Chinese dragons and money bags. Over the Easter holidays there were over 50 children at each session. The themes were Easter and spring and the craft activities included making Easter baskets, spring puppets and garden decorations. The children also made hot cross buns.
“We enjoy it and the kids like doing different things.”