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Published 25 September 2020

More than 1,500 West Dunbartonshire pupils enjoyed a summer of activities during this year’s holiday programme.

The activities, which included sports, fruit picking exploring the environment and a fun forensic workshop  were organised by education staff and supported by five community  partners including Police Scotland; Active schools; Leamy Foundation; Youth Engagement Officers; and Youth Alliance.

The programme also offered places to 96 children and young people with significant additional support needs who were assisted to access activities with appropriate specialist supports.

The Council worked with six community partners who provided 6,200 free lunches with any surplus food returned to be shared at the local community food banks.

A total of £100,000 was invested in supporting children by providing much needed social engagement and free lunches. This year’s activities during the Easter school holidays and the summer break used approximately £78, 000, with further activities planned during the October school week.

Councillor Karen Conaghan, Convener of Educational Services, said: “I would like thank everyone involved in providing summer activities and much needed free lunches. These places were offered to  some of our more vulnerable children and it was a great success considering the challenges faced during the summer due to the ongoing Coronavirus  restrictions. We have established successful partnerships with community groups but we are still keen to hear from other groups who may be  able to apply for money from this fund and provide activities not currently covered by existing partners.”

Councillor Ian Dickson, Vice Convener of Educational Services, said: “These activities and free lunches are providing valuable support to families in West Dunbartonshire as we recognise the additional challenges the holiday periods can bring. We are committed to doing everything we can to support families and fully understand the school holidays can unfortunately result in less access to food and social activity for some children.”

Activities operated from six Hubs in each of the high schools and offered support to the Local Learning Community and those with significant additional support needs. To ensure adherence to health and safety requirements, there were no family activities with a focus on smaller groups with a reduced number of partners and limited social contact and activities.

Officers visited every project over the holiday period to monitor the programme of events to ensure partners  were adhering to Covid guidelines.  During visits officers spoke to children attending to gain feedback for future programmes.

Planning is now well underway for October and Christmas school holiday sessions as well as next year’s programme which will involve liaising with Council and third sector partners to ensure the future success and feedback on the programme.