A ‘Summer Fun’ Play Scheme for children in the Greenstead area of Colchester is underway this week (August 13-17) giving local youngsters the opportunity to get active and have fun on their doorsteps.
Organised by Colchester Borough Council’s Zones Team, in partnership with the Greenstead Project charity, this year’s event includes new ‘Make Lunch’ sessions to give youngsters a free hot meal!
Over 60 children from across Greenstead are expected to this annual event to enjoy a free, fun-packed week of activities which all take place at the Unity Primary Academy which has donated the use of its school premises and grounds.
Cllr Tim Young, Deputy Leader of the Council said: “The Free Play Scheme in Greenstead gets bigger and better every year thanks to the support of so many organisations and individuals. It’s almost become a lifeline for many local families over the years who struggle during the school holidays not just to entertain their children but, as many are used to getting free school meals, to feed them well too. We’re working to build a better Colchester for everyone and supporting happy, healthy communities is key to this.”
Children will get the chance to boost their football skills and enjoy other sports thanks to ‘Colchester United Football in the Community’ getting kids active with free daily sports sessions. There’s also drumming workshops, arts and crafts, circus skills workshops and magic; plus a visit from ‘Snakes Alive’ a local reptile group giving children the chance to find out more about and get close to snakes and reptiles.
The event has been made possible thanks to almost £1,000 funding from Colchester Borough Homes and funding from Tesco which donated drinking squash and biscuits. In addition, Councillors have contributed to the programme from their Locality Budgets.
Colchester Borough Council began running the Play Scheme in Greenstead, one of the most deprived parts of the borough, in 2011. The ‘Make Lunch’ sessions, open to all local families in the area, were introduced last year to give extra support in the school holidays to low-income families in the area who receive ‘free school meals’. It has been part funded by the national Make Lunch Scheme, local churches and the fundraising efforts of residents.
Volunteers are also supporting the event and include local nuns from Greenstead, some young adults who have recently left school, and elderly residents who help serve the refreshments.