A month-long series of camps which will see young people ‘break free’ from lockdown isolation has got underway in Bath & North East Somerset.
Summer Break Out enables children and young people, as well as their families, to enjoy games and activities in a safe environment.
Crucially, they are all offered a free, healthy cooked meal.
Charities, groups and businesses from across the city and the surrounding area have all come together to turn Summer Break Out into a reality.
The free camps are for three age groups for children and young people and take place at venues across B&NES, limiting the need for participants to travel far.
To date Prior Park College, Bath Recreation, Bath College, Youth Connect South West, Quartet Community Foundation, Bath Rugby, St Michaels Junior Church School, St Nicholas Primary School, Castle Primary School, Welton Rovers FC, Midsomer Norton Council, Thrings, Irwin Mitchell, Bath Area Play Project, Bath City Football Foundation, BaNES Public Health, Feeding Britain, St John’s Foundation, Live Learn Cook, Curo, Future Bright, Fareshare, 3SG and Edwards and Ward along with a number of private individuals, have all signed up to deliver and support Summer Break Out.
Support ranges from a vital financial contribution to offers of expertise and spaces to host sessions.
The idea came from a discussion at Bath Rugby Foundation during the early stages of the Covid-19 crisis on how the impact of the lockdown would be felt the most by the poorest in our society and how youngsters could prepare for returning to normality, building on Bath Rugby’s charity’s previous family and employability work in recent years on its Eat Active and Advantage programmes
“We knew that the children and families we work with would suffer greatly and we wanted to explore options for helping people as soon as we could,” said Bath Rugby Foundation CEO, Lynne Fernquest. “We know that, with one in five children living in poverty, there were already huge problems for young people to overcome. This crisis has only made things worse.
“The impact of Covid-19 is not equal – it has hurt the poorest in society the most. Vulnerable children have lost free school meals, lost free sport and physical activity, lost structured education and lost their support network.
“Struggling families and children who need the most support are barely surviving with foodbanks domestic abuse helplines and frontline charities reporting massive spikes in demand.
“We were keen to use the skills and expertise we and other organisations in Bath have to help the people we know are suffering and the idea of Summer Break Out formed very quickly.”
The idea was shared with other charities, community groups and businesses and is in line with the BaNES Public Health Food Poverty Strategy and new steering group. Due to the scale of Summer Break Out, it needed partner organisations to help host and deliver the sessions.
The response to requests for partner groups was immediately positive, with businesses, charities and groups agreeing to be a part of Summer Break Out.
Bath Recreation Chief Executive, John Flinn said: “Bath Recreation is delighted to be supporting this great initiative at a time when our usual support for vulnerable children and families has been curtailed by the current COVID pandemic.”
Anna Wheeler, Bath College Community Engagement Manager: “Last summer, the Advantage programme proved to be life-changing for the young people who took part. We are thrilled to be running the programme again with Bath Rugby Foundation and partners as part of the Summer Break Out initiative. We know that there are more people than ever at the moment who need to re-build confidence, do something different and get inspired about what to do next. It is brilliant to be able to offer the programme in two locations over the Summer and include as many young people as possible in activities designed to stimulate and upskill with a huge element of fun thrown in.”
Summer Break Out is a lifeline for children and young people who are isolated, lonely and hungry, and will be an essential intervention to help communities get back on their feet, providing:
- Free access to healthy meals
- Physical activity for youngsters and teens
- Community activities
- Support for struggling families with multi-agency advice
- Support for older teens looking to get into work, apprenticeships or further study
Programmes are taking place for young children (under 14) and their families, teenagers (aged 14 to 17) and older teenagers and young adults (aged 18 and over).
Each group takes part in suitable age-appropriate activities, including family games for the youngest, return to school preparation for the teens and CV building and life skills for the young adults. Each group will receive free food at every session.
Each session will follow strict safety guidelines on social distancing.
If you would like to help by supporting the delivery of Summer Break Out financially, please contact Halena.Coury@bathrugbyfoundation.com.
To support Summer Break Out by providing skills and activities, please contact Caryl.Thomas@bathrugbyfoundation.com
Summer Break Out’s three groups
Safety of participants, staff and volunteers is of paramount importance and all sessions will strictly follow the latest government guidance on social distancing.
Eat Active (for young children and their families)
This group will focus on families, healthy eating and cognitive development through growth mindset principles of learning in a camp designed to bring families support. Key fundamental movement and vital social skills will be developed through fun sport and crafts workshops, games and mentoring.
Camps will run for four hours, three days a week and provide a healthy hot meal, art/craft and sport. The fourth day will be a fun local trip for families.
This will build on Bath Rugby Foundation’s existing, successful Eat Active programme.
Location: Twerton, Midsomer Norton, Keynsham.
Young teens (ages 14-17)
This group will focus on teens, giving them a sense of purpose and belonging in their community. Mental and physical health issues will be explored in a positive environment.
Bath is in the worst one per cent in the country for antisocial behaviour so teens will be offered career advice and discussions about the next steps available to them.
Location: Bath, Midsomer Norton
Advantage (ages 18+ & NEET)
This group will focus on young adults aged 18+ who are ‘not in education, employment or training’, supporting them in building confidence and providing a network to lean on. It will include homeless young people, those living in sheltered accommodation and those with special educational needs.
Camps will run for five hours, two days a week. Week one concentrates on creating a team environment before an overnight residential, taking the young adults out of their comfort zone, supporting them to build new connections.
Weeks three to six will focus on team building, character development, social action, work experience and career advice.
These camps build on the work of the well-established Bath Rugby Foundation programme Advantage, delivered in partnership with Bath College.