Hertfordshire children set to have a HAPpy Summer!

The summer holidays are looking brighter for disadvantaged children and young people in Welwyn Hatfield and right across Hertfordshire, thanks to an exciting partnership which launched at Easter.

Happy child showing a drawing

From July, Hertfordshire County Council, Herts Sports Partnership and Hertfordshire Community Foundation will once again join forces to deliver healthy food alongside sport and physical activity, under the name 'HAPpy': Hertfordshire's Holiday Activity Programme. 

The programme is open to children and young people aged five to 16, with those in receipt of benefits-related free school meals eligible for free activity places. It aims to tackle the triple inequalities of holiday hunger, physical inactivity and social isolation.

Thanks to funding by the Department for Education, which continues this initiative across England in 2021, existing or prospective organisers of holiday activity programmes can now access this funding to deliver daily programmes for young people.

Simone Chinman-Russell, Corporate Director, Housing and Communities at Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, said:

This is fantastic news for the children of Welwyn Hatfield, and we are so pleased to welcome back this programme for the summer holidays. Particularly for children who may otherwise not be able to access these type of activities with their peers, whilst benefiting from the healthy food on offer and all in a safe environment.  This will have such a positive impact, so we really encourage local clubs and organisations to apply for this funding and help make it a summer to remember for them.

Hertfordshire County Council's Operations Director for Children and Young People, Jo Fisher said:

We are delighted to be at the forefront of this fantastic initiative which will offer 5,000 free activity places each day, over a four-week period during the summer holidays. We are pleased to be working in partnership with both the Herts Sports Partnership and the Hertfordshire Community Foundation to continue to support our most disadvantaged and vulnerable families with the HAPpy - Holiday Activities Programme.

Herts Sports Partnership Director, John O'Callaghan said:

We have seen first-hand from our National Lottery supported Fit, Fed and Read programme that school holidays can be a particularly miserable time for some of our young people. Now that COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted, an opportunity to come back together with peers in a safe, welcoming environment for some fun and enjoyment will be a light relief, and a welcome support to families over the summer holidays. We are extremely pleased to have been appointed by the County Council to assist in this venture and we look forward to rolling out a wider programme with enjoyable experiences for our young people.

Foundation Director at Hertfordshire Community Foundation, Helen Gray said:

We are also delighted to be involved in this programme and over the years we have developed a relationship with a raft of community and voluntary organisations who are well placed to assist with the delivery of this programme. Grant applications for summer delivery are open now, and close on Friday 14 May. We look forward to receiving some exciting and innovative proposals for the expanded delivery of this much needed scheme.

Further details of the programme can be found on the Herts Sports Partnership website. There will also be a webinar on Thursday 6 May to assist those wishing to make an application

To find out how to get involved, please contact Matt Rayner at m.rayner4@herts.ac.uk.