A month-long series of special camps will see young people across Bath & North East Somerset break free from lockdown isolation.
Summer Break Out will allow children and young people, as well as their families, to enjoy games and activities in a safe environment.
Crucially, they will also be able to enjoy a free and healthy cooked meal.
Charities, groups and businesses from across the city and surrounding area have all come together to turn Summer Break Out into a reality.
The free camps are planned for three age groups for children and young people, and will take place at venues across B&NES, limiting the need for participants to travel far.
To date Prior Park College, Bath Recreation, Bath College, Youth Connect South West, Make Lunch (Oasis Bath), St Michaels Junior Church School, St Nicholas Primary School, Castle Primary School, Welton Rovers FC, Midsomer Norton Council, Thrings, Irwin Mitchell, Bath Area Play Project, Bath City Football Foundation, BaNES Public Health, Feeding Britain, St John’s Foundation, Live Learn Cook, Curo, Future Bright, Fareshare, 3SG and Edwards and Ward along with a number of private individuals, have all signed up to deliver and support Summer Break Out.
Support ranges from a vital financial contribution to offers of expertise and spaces to host sessions.
The idea came from a discussion at Bath Rugby Foundation during the early stages of the Covid-19 crisis on how the impact of the lockdown would been felt the most by the poorest in our society and how youngsters could prepare for returning to normality, building on Bath Rugby’s charity’s previous family and employability work over the years on its Eat Active and Advantage programmes.
Bath Rugby Foundation CEO, Lynne Fernquest said: “We knew that the children and families we work with would suffer greatly and we wanted to explore options for helping people as soon as we could.
“We know that, with one in five children living in poverty, there were already huge problems for young people to overcome. This crisis has only made things worse.
“The impact of Covid-19 is not equal – it has hurt the poorest in society the most. Vulnerable children have lost free school meals, lost free sport and physical activity, lost structured education and lost their support network.
“Struggling families and children who need the most support are barely surviving with foodbanks domestic abuse helplines and frontline charities reporting massive spikes in demand.
“We were keen to use the skills and expertise we and other organisations in Bath have to help the people we know are suffering and the idea of Summer Break Out formed very quickly.”
The idea was shared with other charities, community groups and businesses and is in line with the B&NES Public Health Food Poverty Strategy and new steering group.
Due to the scale of Summer Break Out, it needed partner organisations to help host and deliver the sessions.
The response to requests for partner groups was immediately positive, with businesses, charities and groups agreeing to be a part of the scheme.
Bath Recreation Chief Executive, John Flinn said: “Bath Recreation is delighted to be supporting this great initiative at a time when our usual support for vulnerable children and families has been curtailed by the current Covid pandemic.”
Anna Wheeler, Bath College Community Engagement Manager, added: “Last summer, the Advantage programme proved to be life-changing for the young people who took part.
“We are thrilled to be running the programme again with Bath Rugby Foundation and partners as part of the Summer Break Out initiative.
“We know that there are more people than ever at the moment who need to re-build confidence, do something different and get inspired about what to do next.
“It is brilliant to be able to offer the programme in two locations over the Summer and include as many young people as possible in activities designed to stimulate and upskill with a huge element of fun thrown in.”
Summer Break Out has been hailed as a lifeline for children and young people who are isolated, lonely and hungry, and will be an essential intervention to help communities get back on their feet.
The camps will provide:
- Free access to healthy meals
- Physical activity for youngsters and teens
- Community activities
- Support for struggling families with multi-agency advice
- Support for older teens looking to get into work, apprenticeships or further study
Summer Break Out has been planned for three different age groups, with programmes planned for young children (under 14) and their families, teenagers (aged 14 to 17) and older teenagers and young adults (aged 18 and over).
Each group will have suitable age-appropriate activities planned, including family games for the youngest, return to school preparation for the teens and CV building and life skills for the young adults.
Each group will receive free food at every session.
Organisers have said they will follow strict safety guidelines on social distancing.
A Crowdfunding campaign will soon be launched to help deliver Summer Break Out to children who need support.
If you would like to help by supporting the delivery of Summer Break Out financially, contact [email protected]
To support Summer Break Out by providing skills and activities, contact [email protected]