A total of 155 clubs ran in Hampshire, run by a wide variety of arts, sporting and general organisations, all offering a range of activities and wholesome food. Children took part in activities as diverse as archery, water sports, golf and new age kurling.
Progress was also made filling gaps in provision, working with Local Children’s Partnerships to identify and create places in areas that needed it most, and increasing provision for SEND children from 12 to 18 per cent. Almost 200 Ukrainian children were also able to take part in HAF, using funding from the Homes for Ukraine budget.
One project that filled a gap both in location and age group was a youth art scheme held at Farnborough library – a collaboration with the library and the borough council to promote the library as a community asset. The young people attending the scheme worked alongside a graffiti artist to paint the hoardings that surrounded the library. During the project the library saw a reduction in youth antisocial behaviour and there were lots of positive comments from members of the public about the artwork and young people’s involvement.
Looking forward to the upcoming Christmas delivery, the HAF team is using learning from this summer to build good access to the programme in every area and boost places where funds allow. The success of the SEND uptake creates new challenges for providers, so training and top-up payments for SEND support are being reviewed. The focus this Christmas will be cost of living support, so the team is working with partners to train HAF providers around this topic and signpost support through attending schemes and offering guidance to parents/carers.
The HAF team also runs the provision for Isle of Wight, where more than twice the number of children (2,277) attended this year’s schemes than during summer 2022. Numbers attending the Island’s HAF provision can fluctuate due to the small size of the programme, whereby weather and other local factors can considerably affect attendance. The team has been focusing on adding new activity providers to the programme and improving the quality of provision.
The programme continues to take advantage of the unique and specialist opportunities available on the Island, including the Roman Villa museum, day trips to the theme parks, and horse riding at the Island’s riding centre. Increased costs of many external activities have meant that more providers have kept their activities in-house, but even so, programme highlights included forest and beach school activities, a rock school, theatre schools, football camps, skateboarding workshops and much more. Not many HAF programmes can list ‘poo picking’ relay races as one of their top physical activities. But for those children who learned to ride at the Island’s Riding school this summer, it will go down as an absolute highlight.