This summer, more than 1200 children and young people accessed Cardiff's School Holiday Enrichment Programme (SHEP), meaning record numbers were able to enjoy theexciting programme of sport and educational provision, alongside healthy nutritious meals.
Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry said: "I am delighted that so many children and young people had the opportunity to take part in this year's Food and Fun programme and I was fortunate to attend some of the sessions and experience first-hand, the ways in which the scheme benefits our communities.
"More families than ever are feeling the effects of the pandemic, both socially and financially. This initiative ensures children are provided with fun, educational and sporting opportunities together with healthy nutritious meals which are delivered in a safe and nurturing environment, which offers families some financial relief whilst schools are closed.
Now in its sixth year, the multi-award winningFood and Funinitiative provides opportunities for children to socialise, engage in physical activity and learn new skills provided by a range of city-wide partners, whilst helping toease the financial burden on families during the summer holiday period.
As part of the scheme, families were provided with family food bagsincluding ingredients and a step-by-step recipe developed by dieticians from Cardiff and Vale University Health Board to encourage them to prepare, cook and eat together. In addition,partner organisations provided a range of activities including physical activity sessions delivered by Sport Cardiff, visits by the emergency services and a host of other activities such as cricket, dance, rocket launching, gardening, water safety and drama.
Cllr Merry added: "The scheme is reliant on volunteers and Cardiff's city-wide partnerswho collectively enable children to learn new skills in a fun and safe environment. I wouldlike to take this opportunity to personally thank every one of them, and commend them for helping to deliver Food and Fun's most successful year yet."
This year, additional Welsh Government funding meant that the programme could be extended to include communities beyond the traditionally, Welsh Government funded targeted areas, allowing Cardiff's dedicated SHEP teams and partners across Cardiff, to help to make sure as many children as possible could access the provision.
Feedback from schools:
Siân Ponting, SHEP Coordinator St Mary the Virgin Church in Wales Primary School: "Through various activities, children were helped to build confidence in masses. This has really supported the children who are normally very shy and reserved."
"During one activity, the children made a living edible mini garden to take home which would keep growing and growing. We heard from parents that some children who wouldn't normally eat salad were giving it a go, an excellent link to healthy eating in a sustainable way."
"It is fair to say that every child that attended the nutrition sessions has come away with excellent grounding for the future and the knowledge they had gained was clear to see, from trying new foods to replacing sugary foods with healthy alternatives - What an excellent result!"
Jo Blackmore, SHEP Coordinator at Pencaerau Primary School said: "All of our pupils and parents/carers were extremely grateful and supportive of what we were trying to achieve during the Food and Fun programme. Several of our parents said it was an amazing few weeks and that the children didn't want to come home.
"It was great to see children who don't think they are sporty, learning that active games count towards fitness, good health and wellbeing. The food tasting and cooking has helped the children grow confidence in trying new foods and understanding what is good for them - all while having a good time."
TheFood and Funscheme was developed by Cardiff's SHEP team in 2015 and was adopted by Welsh Government and rolled out to the rest of Wales during the following two years. It has been used as an example of Best Practice and has led to Wales being recognised as having the most advanced holiday provision in the UK.