Hundreds of young people in Chester have been supported and engaged by an innovative summer programme delivered by Sanctuary Housing and Cheshire West and Chester Council.
Sanctuary’s Local Neighbourhood Team usually works with local partners to deliver events and activities for children in Lache during the school summer holidays.
But with Covid-19 restrictions and social distancing guidelines in place, they decided to run a ‘virtual’ programme this year instead.
More than 400 families were supported during the four-week project, with each receiving a box of food, a box of fruit and a ‘larder box’ containing cupboard essentials.
A variety of activity sessions were delivered online, with activity packs containing resources and equipment delivered to residents’ doorsteps each week. A Covid-safe holiday club delivered by sports and activity provider CEPD was also held at Lache Primary School for two hours, three days a week throughout the summer.
The summer programme was delivered thanks to £24,500 of funding from the Department of Education’s Holiday Activities and Food programme, distributed through community interest company Edsential.
It was supported by partners including the police, libraries, community safety wardens, Cheshire West Communities Together, Healthbox and local children’s centres, while generous donations of supplies were also received from retailers Tesco, Morrisons and Dunelm.
Ria Burns, Sanctuary’s Neighbourhood Partnership Manager, said: “It’s been an unusual and challenging year for everyone and it’s more important than ever that communities stay connected and look out for one another.
“While we haven’t been able to deliver the more traditional activities, the summer programme has still been a huge success, reaching more than 730 young people. It’s been lovely to hear such positive feedback and see children and families waiting in anticipation for their parcels each week.”
Sharon Marshall, Lache Neighbourhood and Partnership Manager at Cheshire West and Chester Council, commented: “This year has been slightly different for residents in Lache and I would like to thank everyone who has helped to make the summer something positive and fun for young people.
“We have had lots of positive feedback from families and hope to use this to improve in the future.”