Children’s charity and local authorities working together to support young people’s wellbeing over summer holidays

Youth Sport Trust has worked closely with Suffolk County Council over the summer holidays.

After working with Suffolk County Council over a number of years on the Youth Sport Trust Active In Mind programme in the area, we were delighted to be invited to a county-wide networking event for organisations contributing to Suffolk’s ‘Most Active County’ ambitions.

At the event, YST presented a number of school-focused projects, interventions and training opportunities that could be used to support schools and organisations in Suffolk. The County Council were keen to hear more about our Healthy Movers programme and so a meeting was arranged, which coincided with the start of national lockdown in England.

At the time, Suffolk County Council had just been awarded some funding from the Department for Education Holiday Activities and Food programme, which now needed to be transformed into a home-based programme due to the coronavirus pandemic. The discussion led to the proposal of a range of student-led home learning activities and creative equipment being delivered to young people across the county, giving them a ‘summer in a box’.

The ‘Summer in a Box’ programme supported over 2,000 disadvantaged children, including young people in care and young carers, to help ensure they had a summer holiday to remember. The packs included fun physical activities, sport challenges, equipment, posters and videos to help young people look after their mental and physical wellbeing. We also provided practitioners in Suffolk with a pack of Chateez cards to help young people to open up about their feelings in an accessible way.

One young person who received an activity pack said:

The best thing about using this pack was that my mental health was a bit better.

Following the work in Suffolk, we worked with three more local authorities to support young people in disadvantaged areas across London, through the Mayor’s fund, and the North East. We have now sent over 9000 activity pack and resources across all four local authority areas.

Russell Cartwright, Development Manager at the Youth Sport Trust who leads on the project, was delighted that Suffolk CC chose YST to provide the activities for the boxes.

He said:

Some children have never received anything like this before. For the first time they have their own frisbee, water bottle, chalks with whiteboard and reaction ball. No child will miss out this summer and that makes me incredibly proud.

Adam Baker, Strategic Lead for Physical Activity at Suffolk County Council, said:

Working with the Youth Sport Trust on developing and distributing sports resource packs to young people in Suffolk over the school summer holidays was a positive and smooth process. From initial discussions through project development to delivery, the Youth Sport Trust staff were helpful, knowledgeable and flexible. Although timescales were relatively short they were able to deliver the project on time and on budget, keeping us informed of progress throughout. The packs have been well received with feedback being very positive.

You can read more about the programme from Suffolk County Council.