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Out of school and holiday activities

22 February 2019

There are lots of activities available after school,  at weekends or during holiday times. Some of these are free and some, if you are 13 or older, can earn you money. 

Part-time work

You must be 13 years old before you can get a part-time job. If you are under the mandatory school leaving age there are certain rules about: what work you can do, where you can work, when you can work and how long you can work.

Essex Dance Theatre

If you've ever wanted to learn dance in an informal and friendly environment, Essex Dance Theatre could be for you. Based in Chelmsford, but operating across the county, the theatre has an open-door policy and works with people regardless of age, gender or experience. 

Outdoor centres

Essex Outdoors offers dozens of exciting and adventurous activities across Essex and beyond. Choose from archery, canoeing, climbing, mountain biking, sailing and much more. 

There are four centres across the county, at Bradwell, Danbury, Harlow and Mersea. All of the centres run educational and developmental courses for young people and adults.  There are also school holiday activity days for young people. For more information please visit Essex Outdoors.

Country parks

There are country parks all over Essex. Some are run by us and some by district councils. Country parks offer a wide range of activities such as off-road cycling, fishing, walking and exploring. VisitEssex provides a list of all country parks in Essex with brief details of what’s available at each.


Your district council runs leisure centres and swimming pools. They may also offer free swimming for under 16s.

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE)

You can make new friends, discover new activities, develop skills, learn to map read, go camping, volunteer in your community and so much more when you do DofE.  If you achieve the Gold Award you also get to go to St Jame's Palace.  Find a centre in your area for more information. 


If you already play a musical instrument, Essex has some youth orchestras and music groups which you might want to join. You can also learn to play an instrument.


There are various groups for young people who are interested in local politics and taking part in making decisions which influence community projects. There is the Young Essex Assembly whose members are the voice of all young people in the county. They campaign to make a positive difference to their lives.


Your local library provides books for free and runs events for children and young people during the summer holidays. You can also read up on subjects you have a special interest in. 

Volunteering opportunities

Being a volunteer gives you a chance to do something new and to contribute to your community. We have lots of volunteering opportunities you may enjoy. V inspired connects 16-25 year olds with volunteering opportunities in England.