Young people across Calderdale have been enjoying fun and inclusive play sessions throughout the school holidays, as part of the Council’s Play Development Service activity programme.
The Play Development Service is part of Calderdale Council’s Children and Young People’s Service and offers regular inclusive play sessions in communities across the borough.
The sessions are open to all young people between 5 and 14 years of age (or up to 16 for those with individual needs or disabilities) and the team includes specially trained staff to enable those with additional needs to access mainstream activities.
In addition to their regular sessions, throughout the summer holiday break the service has delivered 28, four-hour sessions, for young people in the borough.
Over 1260 young people attended and enjoyed a varied programme of activities which were not only fun, but also supported health, wellbeing, development, and social skills. These included:
- Circus skills – Young people enjoyed the opportunity to learn new and exciting tricks, many of which they’d never experienced before. The sessions included an array of activities which tested abilities and developed skills such as balance, coordination and speed, alongside the stimulation of concentration levels.
- Rugby sessions – At these sessions, professional rugby players supported young people to take partin rugby team games and learn new skills. The games created healthy competition and encouraged teamwork. The active sessions supported hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness, and overall health and was a fun way to encourage exercise.
- Blender bikes sessions – These stationary bikes feature a smoothie maker which spins when the bikes are pedalled. The sessions also featured an adapted bike that can be powered by moving the arms, to allow those in wheelchairs to use the equipment. Alongside the excitement of making their own smoothies, young people enjoyed the health benefits from taking part in cycling and then sampling their own fruit smoothies.
- Football programme – The service partnered with Halifax Central Initiative and supported around 500 children to take part in a five-week football programme. The sessions included people from different ages, genders, ethnicities, abilities, and backgrounds in an environment that was inclusive and fun for all. Young people made friends and developed a knowledge and understanding of other people in a local area filled with diversity.
Many sessions also featured as part of the Council’s Healthy Holidays programme, funded through the Department for Education’s Holiday Activities and Food Programme (HAF) and in partnership with the Community Foundation for Calderdale. The play service worked with young people and staff from Project Challenge(external link), a specialist education/training provider working with 16–19-year-olds, to provide hot meals for children who usually receive free school meal. The staff and young people at Project Challenge helped to prepare and deliver almost 1500 meals over the six-week summer period, catering for vegetarian, vegan and Halal diets, as well as different allergies and specific requirements.
Play Services and Project Challenge share a base at the Orangebox young people’s centre located in the heart of Halifax which offers a range of fun, educational and support services to young people from across the borough.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, Cllr Adam Wilkinson, said:
“The long summer holidays can be a difficult time for families. The Council’s Play Development Service has done a great job ensuring that young people of different ages and abilities have been able to access a varied programme of activities to engage, educate and entertain throughout the school break.
“The sessions have been a huge success, with some really positive feedback received. Coordinating activities like these is not an easy task, but every member of the team, as well as the partners and volunteers who’ve supported the programme, has given their all to ensure that everyone taking part felt included and that activities ran smoothly.
“Although the holidays may be over, the hard work doesn’t end, and the service continues to provide inclusive after-school sessions at locations across the borough. Specialist teams also continue to offer support to families who are struggling, offering advice on a wide variety of subjects and signposting to further help when necessary.”
To find out more, visit https://www.calderdale.gov.uk/v2/residents/education-and-learning/out-school-activities/play-development-service. Sessions run throughout the year, in term time and holidays, for more information contact Imran or Sarah on 01422 380995.