The Family Holiday Club is an important date in our calendar at the Child and Family Centre. This year it ran from 28 June till 16 July; 11am-2pm each day for 15 days. We ran the club in Elder Park, which is easily accessible for our families.
This was a perfect venue due to the high numbers, meeting the criteria for a safe and healthy outdoor environment. It allowed for parents, relatives, friends and children to meet with social distancing. Health and hygiene measures were implemented throughout the weeks. We encouraged each family to select their own socially distant space and gave out picnic blankets to help them have their own place to sit and have their lunch with their family members.
We organised and delivered a full programme of learning and creative activities daily for the children and families to help facilitate creativity and learning opportunities for their continued growth and development. For health and safety reasons every child was given their own individual toy or activity pack daily which they were able to take home. This meant resources were not shared and thereby eliminated the risk of cross contamination, it also meant they could be enjoyed at home and beyond.
Each day there was a different activity set up in different areas of the park to help spread out the families and to enable them to keep their distance from each other. There was giant snakes and ladders, giant Jenga and large wooden blocks for the children to build their own creative tunnels, bridges etc. They also enjoyed kite flying, mini beast hunts, craft packs to make environmental pictures, scavenger hunts and sporting events such as mini Olympics, Frisbees, three legged races, skipping ropes, ball skills, assault and obstacle courses. We brought in professional dance teachers to teach both the kids and adults some dance moves and healthy exercises.
We scheduled in an overall theme based on the biblical story of Noah’s Ark. The children were given art materials to create, build and decorate the ark from cardboard boxes of all shapes and sizes, draw and colour rainbows and make rainmakers from recycled plastic bottles filled with lentils to make the sound of rain. These were then put on display around the park.
It is important that activities are simple and affordable such as skipping ropes, ball games, bubbles and chalk. These can be played with anywhere and parents can buy them in future without breaking the bank.
Staff were always hands on and available to talk and interact with families making them feel welcomed, valued and cared for. Some parents, who were struggling, were able to come for prayer or a chat to help meet any emotional or spiritual needs they had.
We feel that parents’ self-esteem and confidence increases as they build healthy relationships/connections with their children and other parents and families, helping with activities and tidying up after meals/play etc. There was a real sense of community and a feeling as if we are all in this together. The holiday club provides great social interaction and this was really needed after a lonely season of social isolation for some due to the pandemic.
I want to give you some stats on the attendance to show how valued this club was:
- 200 different children attended the holiday club over the 3-week period, on average around 60 per day. Some of these children came multiple times over the weeks.
- 90 different adults attended the holiday club, on average around 30 per day. Some of these adults also attended on multiple occasions.
- Average attendance each day was around 90-100 individuals with 135 people attending on the final day when we had a barbecue for everyone. This amounted to approximately 1,500 people attending over the 3 weeks.
- 191 people went on trips daily over the 3 weeks to local attractions and outings suitable for families including the Science Centre, bowling and parks for recreation, fun and healthy activity.
- We bought and distributed around 100 healthy snack lunch bags every day containing sandwiches, water, crisps, a cereal bar and fruit for every adult and child.
- In total, we gave out 1,500 lunch bags over the 3-week period, which was amazing.
- As well as the lunch bags we were also able to feed 100 people with pizza from Dominos on two days, hotdogs on another day and McDonalds to all 100 families on another day.
- The Big Barbecue on the final day fed 135 people with burgers, sausages, chicken breasts and a veggie option available. This was an amazing day with our CEO, Charles, being the main chef.
I will leave you with some quotes from the families who attended this year:
“My whole family attended the summer club. Fantastic atmosphere. Has everything for the kids. Great activities, all wake up in the morning asking what time is summer club on”
“Both my kids love this club. Makes our summer, knowing they can come and see friends, staff are amazing”
“Interesting activities for my children. Warm welcoming staff members. Company of other parents and carers for me. Great friends to play with for my children. Healthy snacks and lunch for the whole family. Thank you so much for everything. We had great fun xx”