Healthy Holidays Programme
13th October 2022
During the first two weeks of August, the Barnsley Museums Learning team piloted two summer clubs commissioned by the BMBC Communities Commissioning team through DFE Funding. The first week took place at Worsbrough Mill and the second at Elsecar Heritage Centre.
These clubs were part of the Healthy Holidays programme, providing enriching activities, physical activity, and nourishing meals during the holidays for children in receipt of free school meals.
During the week at Worsbrough, we had a Nature Detectives theme, and children took part in nature-inspired crafts and activities in the Learning Hut and out in the country park. The week culminated in a tour and walk and a feast that the children prepared for their adults, who were invited in for this celebration event.
During the second week at Elsecar Heritage Centre, the theme was mini artists and each day, the children had a go at a different type of art – including painting and sculpture – and created an art exhibition and private view for their adults on the last day.
The benefits to the children and their families varied; help with balancing childcare and jobs, access to free and nutritional food, the social aspects of helping children gain confidence in a group, making new friends and learning new skills. Some children didn’t have access to any art materials at home, so we created some packs for those children to take home.
Many families were in dire financial straits, and the healthy holidays’ programme helped families access enjoyable and life-enriching activities that they otherwise wouldn’t have had. Families fed back that the clubs were their favourite part of the summer, and several participants made friendships they wanted to maintain beyond the clubs. Staff also developed their expertise in tailoring activities for children with additional needs, their understanding of safeguarding practices for holiday clubs and their knowledge of food hygiene and food handling through training provided through the Healthy Holidays programme by Fairshare, which will benefit the development of future learning programmes.
At the end of August, Barnsley Museums hosted a free Healthy Holidays Celebration Event at Elsecar, bringing together attendees from clubs across Barnsley. The event, organised in conjunction with the BMBC Communities Commissioning team, was a great success with the families who attended and was also attended by the Mayor, a local MP and cabinet and ward members. We provided food stalls, fairground rides, face painting, bands, theatre performances, art workshops and circus skills alongside healthy living stalls and a school uniform “shop”.