Volunteers needed this summer for free school holiday fun, food and activity programme

Leeds City Council is calling on volunteers to help make a difference during this summer’s school holidays by getting involved with the popular and successful Healthy Holidays programme.

The scheme has been running since 2018 providing children who receive free school meals in term time with nutritious food plus fun and engaging activities – all of which are free. Youngsters taking part can also make new friends, develop new skills and enjoy free organised day trips out and about around Leeds.

The council is appealing for volunteers to help run the sessions which will run from Tuesdays to Fridays from Tuesday 2 August across the whole summer break. Anyone interested can apply now at https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/HHSummer2022-Volunteers/

Volunteering is a brilliant way to give something back to communities, support children and make new friendships. The programme also helps to ease the extra pressure some families are under during this time, when children aren’t in school and aren’t receiving free meals.

Among the free activities on offer will be sports and games, art and crafting, cooking and food tasting, as well as free day trips to places such as Temple Newsam and, new for this year, Bolton Abbey in North Yorkshire.

All the Heathy Holidays sessions will be held at 11 of the council’s Community Hubs in Leeds. Volunteers will be involved in:

  • Supporting children and young people to have a fun and safe day
  • Ensuring those taking part have access to water and refreshments
  • Answering questions that children might have about the activities
  • Helping serve up lunch (the council can provide access to a Level 2 Food Hygiene qualification for people who are volunteering for more than a week)
  • Keeping the venue tidy and safe for everyone taking part.

Volunteers can choose how much time they want to commit and can bring along their own children who can take part in the activities free-of-charge as well. They will be working with small groups and there will be always a trained manager on hand. Travel expenses will be covered and a free lunch provided.

Jon Hindley has been volunteering for Healthy Holidays for several years at Armley Community Hub, committing a couple of days throughout the summer holidays.

He said: “Volunteering for Healthy Holidays is a really rewarding experience, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to get more involved in their community and give something back. I got involved with all the different activities; from helping out with sports and gym games, to being hands-on with the art and crafting projects.

“Many of the families who come to the Armley sessions are on a tight budget, so it’s great to be part of a team that can provide fun activities and a nutritious meal, all completely free.

“We can also point families in the right direction for further support if, for example, they have money worries or are struggling with their bills.”

Leeds City Council offers a range of free money-saving advice to help people with their finances as the cost of living rises. There is free, confidential and impartial help and advice on a range of money related matters such as debt, money, energy and utilities at www.leeds.gov.uk/leedsmic. Or visit any one of the 26 Community Hubs across Leeds for money advice and support.

Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for economy, culture and education, said:

“The Healthy Holidays scheme relies on its incredible volunteers and I would really encourage anyone to dedicate some free time to helping children make amazing memories in the school holidays. Not only is it a fantastic idea for children, but the volunteers gain as well, through their rewarding and valued work with families across the city.”

Councillor Mary Harland, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for communities, said:

“Healthy Holidays plays a vital role in supporting some of the city’s most vulnerable families during the school holidays and the programme’s volunteers are key to its success. Volunteering is a fantastic way to give back to the community and, in this case, make a positive difference to the lives of children and young people in Leeds. I’d really encourage people who are interested to apply online or contact the team for more information.”

The programme is supported by the Department for Education’s Holiday Activities and Food Programme.

To apply to be a volunteer, please go to https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/HHSummer2022-Volunteers/

For more information, please email healthyholidays@leeds.gov.uk  

 

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