Date issued: 14 August 2019
A free ‘Summer Fun’ play scheme for children in the Greenstead area of Colchester is taking place this week (August 12-16) giving local youngsters the opportunity to get active and have fun on their doorsteps.
Organised by Colchester Borough Council’s Neighbourhood Services, in partnership with the Greenstead Project charity, this year’s event includes ‘Make Lunch’ sessions to give youngsters a free hot meal.
Children aged 6-11 years old, who live in Greenstead, can attend the play scheme from 10am-12pm every day, followed by Make Lunch 12-1pm.
Up to 50 children a day can benefit from these free lunches and fun activities that all take place at the Unity Primary Academy, which has donated the use of its school premises and grounds.
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 funding from the Colchester Borough Homes Engagement Project.
Councillor Michael Lilley, Colchester Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Communities, Wellbeing and Public Safety, said: “Since it began eight years ago, the free play scheme in Greenstead has continued to grow, thanks to help and support from local organisations and individuals.
“The reality is that the school summer holidays can be a difficult time for some young people and families, and I’m delighted that this is the second Holiday Hunger project we’re helping to support this summer. I am sure these free hot meals, alongside the play and sports activities, will have a positive impact on low-income households.”
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 two years ago 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.
The play scheme activities and Make Lunch sessions support the livewell campaign.