Summer programme of support for working parents announced

Summer programme of support for working parents announced

Working Essex families are set to benefit from a new range of support from the County Council as a number of exciting initiatives will be announced at Essex County Council’s (ECC), Full Council Meeting tomorrow, Tuesday 14 July.

Believed to be the first of its kind in the country, Cllr. Louise McKinlay, Cabinet Member for Children and Families will share plans for a comprehensive package of support this summer for families, with the council investing around £400k into a suite of initiatives.

One of the key schemes to be launched this week is the Summer Holiday Clubs programme which will see around £240,000 of investment to offer families in Essex 21,600 free activity camp sessions during the 6 week summer holiday.

Sessions will be inclusive and will provide opportunities for young people with disabilities as well.

The holiday activity clubs, developed by ECC and Active Essex, aim to encourage children, to be physically active and socially connected while supporting parents who are seeking to return to work over the coming weeks, by providing some safe and localised childcare options.

The clubs will take place across the county and will be run by qualified coaches and partner organisations. All of the children attending will also receive a nutritious packed lunch. Details on how to apply for places will be shared over the coming days.

As well as the Summer Holiday Activity Club Programme, some 2,500 sports bags containing sports equipment will be distributed to families in need across the county to encourage physical activity.

Each sports pack will include a range of age appropriate equipment and will be supported by an activity pack which will give families ideas of how they can use the equipment together. There will also be special sessions on the Active Essex You Tube channel.

Cllr Louise McKinlay, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “At February Full Council I announced that we would be offering 12,000 sessions of summer clubs across the county to help working parents with childcare over the summer. COVID-19 nearly put a stop to our plans, but as guidance developed we realised that we could deliver something this summer."

"As a local authority we saw the added importance of this scheme in the current context and today’s announcement not only doubles the amount of sessions available to families across Essex to 21,600 but also sees double the investment from the Council."

"We are committed to supporting families through this tough time and I commend the work of Active Essex in organising this under such tight time constraints. The Summer Holiday Activity Club Programme will make a real difference to these families as will the other exciting announcements I will be making tomorrow.”

As well as the activity clubs, Cllr McKinlay will also announce further initiatives such as additional provision of laptops and devices to the children who most need them, support to prepare children to return to school in September with confidence along with other wellbeing initiatives."

A new Facebook page for working parents has also been launched which will act as a fountain of information, guidance and support.

Tomorrow’s full Council meeting can be listened to live here.

Last updated 13 July 2020