Council calls on government to confirm summer activities funding

Brighton & Hove City Council has called on the government to confirm as a matter of urgency arrangements and funding for summer playschemes and sports activities for disadvantaged and vulnerable children over the summer.

The chair of the council’s children, young people and skills committee, Councillor John Allcock, has written to the Secretary of State for Education underlining that councils and local providers need to have certainty now in order to plan for the summer.

Councillor Allcock said: “Providers who usually run playschemes and sports activities are waiting for guidance – and time is running out.

“Critical workers, including NHS staff and social workers, urgently need to know what will be on offer. Providers need notice to recruit or un-furlough staff. 

“Funding to provide additional places for vulnerable and disadvantaged children would ensure they were provided for safely and had a positive summer. This in turn would support their transition back to school.

“The government has only confirmed funding for holiday and food activities projects in ten areas of the country so far. 

“This needs to be made available to all councils if plans are to be put in place locally to provide for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children who have missed out on education and wider opportunities during the pandemic. 

“Meeting the needs of disadvantaged children is more than providing traditional catch up programmes in academic subjects. 

“Learning and development over the summer could be better provided through and alongside sport, music and outdoor education together with food. 

“We have fantastic partners such as local sports clubs, the city’s music service and other voluntary sector providers. If given permission and funding, they could provide positive activities for children and young people across the city during the summer break. 

“These types of activities would support transition back to school in the autumn and support positive mental health.”