The following report details the impact the Healthy Holidays programme had on both the children and adults of families participating in one or more of the three programmes. The majority of the data was collected on the October 2017 programme, unless otherwise stated.
Who took part?
Over the 28 days the programme ran 140 hours of activities were delivered along with 700 lunches and 1400 snacks. 64 children attended Healthy Holidays over the three programmes and were aged 4-11, with the average age of participant being 8 years old. 53% of participants were male and 47% female.
With one of the aims of the programme being to provide support to those families whose children are on free school meals, it is estimated that over 60% of the children who attended are entitled to free school meals and all are from low income families. A number of the children are from single parent families, living with grandparents or carers with many receiving support from Home-Start
What led parents to bring their children?
The impact of the programme reveals the way in which parent’s requests have been met.
Heard about it and thought kids would enjoy it (working also)
For health benefits; better lifestyle choices
They both enjoy coming
To get him more active and out of the house
To keep him active and healthy through the break
Get more exercise and eat healthy
It’s an excellent scheme, well run by staff who are dedicated to what they do
Because they had nothing to do and to socialise
What were the physical impacts?
An aim of the programme is to tackle the lack of physical activity in the school holidays by providing children the opportunity to be more active.
67% of children asked on the summer holiday programme said they had taken part in more activities this summer holiday than during their last. One child noted that they would usually be on their phone during the holidays and when asked what was better they said Healthy Holidays “because you interact with people face to face not just on your screen”.
100% of participants asked on the summer holiday programme said they enjoyed taking part in the physical activities. 100% of children asked on the October programme said they preferred attending Healthy Holidays to staying at home during the holidays. One child revealed that “I didn’t like sport before this week now I do”. As a means to create a lasting difference we aim to introduce the children to new activities to inspire ideas that could be used at home. 100% of children asked said they had learnt new games and 77% said they have been more active at home and would continue these new activities after the completion of the programme because “they’re so fun and entertaining”. This impact was revealed in action as one parent said their child is now “playing sports and activities they may not have played before” and another said that their child “enjoys football and wants to do more activities”.
The parents involved noted the change they had observed in their children with the majority saying their child has been more active since the start of the programme. One parent stated that their child had “become more athletic” whilst another said that they and their child had begun “trampolining and gym class with personal trainer”.
What were the nutritional impacts?
As stated by Darryl Moffat, former Project Manager, a goal of the programme was to “allow children that are on free school meals to not only eat in the holidays but eat healthier in the holidays”.
Over the 28 days the programme ran 700 lunches and 1400 snacks were provided. Snacks would consist of fruit or yoghurt and lunch options included jacket potatoes, pasta, wraps, cheese, ham, tuna and was always accompanied with salad. 100% of the children asked on the October programme said they liked the food provided.
When asked why, several of the children said because it’s “healthy” and “tasty”.
The programme aimed to introduce and encourage children to try different food. 67% of the participants asked said they had eaten new foods; wraps, jacket potatoes, melon and pepper were amongst these new foods. 87% of children asked on the summer holiday programme said they had enjoyed trying different healthy meals. One child said they liked the food “because it’s different and good to try new food” and another said “I love the food because it’s so healthy. I normally like biscuits and crisps but ever since I came here I eat healthy stuff”.
75% of children asked said they would continue eating different foods at home. The parent’s comments revealed similar results. 67% of parents asked said their child had eaten different types of food since starting Healthy Holidays. One parent noted that their child is eating “more vegetables, more fruit and eating breakfast in the morning”, another revealed that their children “are willing to try healthy foods before dismissing them”.
What were the social and emotional impacts?
Attending Healthy Holidays and interacting with both new peers and people of different ages resulted in the increase of confidence in children.
69% of children asked said they felt nervous prior to starting.
One child explained they felt “a little bit scared because I’m going to meet new people”. When asked how they felt at the end of the programme the majority of children focused on the positive relationships they had built with peers and coaches. One child said their favourite part of the programme was “meeting new friends” and another child said the coaches “made it fun”.
When asked whether they felt more confident since the start of the programme, 100% of the children asked said they did, with one child saying it was because “I met different people and made new friends”. 100% of children asked said they had made new friends and 77% said they would keep in contact with them.
Parents involved also reported changes in their child as 83% of those asked revealed their child had increased in confidence.
One parent noted that their children “are both more confident when playing and making friends with new children. They are better behaved and excited to get up in the morning”.
What were the wider impacts?
Receiving feedback revealed the wider impacts. 100% of the parents asked said that the programme had benefited them, with several explaining that it has enabled them to have “a break” whilst another commented on the reasonable cost it offered.
The programme ran in partnership with the charity Home-Start with several of the children being from families the charity work with. Alison Foden, Home-Start manager, noted that “We know that lots of the parents we work with their children are on free school meals. Healthy eating is a big issue for us. It’s trying to encourage and introduce healthier options. So we thought [the programme] would be good for our parents as well”.
Being involved in this project, Alison reveals, “is definitely having an effect […] The one thing that I think has been really positive for us [is] that with the families that we support, because we only see the preschool children, we hear issues with the older children for the parents but we don’t actually see it. So for us it’s been really helpful to see the older children, so that we can now support the parents with the issues they’ve got, having a better understanding of […] what these children are presenting.
“With two children I’m going to be getting in touch with their schools in September just to see how we can work together to try to improve situations for both parents and children”. Alison recognises the joy the programme brings to the children as she notes “the squeals of glee that come from the hall are just lovely and that says it all”. When asked if she would change anything on the programme, Alison replied “no, I think it’s been brilliant”.
What is the future of Healthy Holidays?
100% of parents and children asked on the summer holiday and October programme said they would return to Healthy Holidays.
What the children said:
“We like it and we might meet our friends”
“I have lots of friends now”
“Everyone is nice to me”
“I like the games and food”
“It’s just so fun and I love all the teachers […] You get to make new friends. You get to eat. You get to go outside. It’s just like a mini school”
“You wake up in the morning and you feel excited to go every single day”
What the parents said:
“It’s an excellent scheme, well run by staff who are dedicated to what they do”
“Child enjoys it, I need it, it seems makes her happy and healthier”
“Both extremely happy here”
Along with Alison Foden, numerous parents on the summer holiday and October programme said that they would not change anything about Healthy Holidays, however, as a project we are always aiming to develop. During the running of the programme developments are made as Darryl Moffat notes “at the end of the week we do a feedback meeting with the kids. So the coach will get all the kids in […] and they’ll say what did you enjoy, what didn’t you enjoy, what else would you like? And then we use that to make it better next time […] We want the whole programme to be child driven […] because [the children] know what they want, what they need and then we also want to show that we’re delivering the project to their needs and not to what we think, to what they want”.
Reviewing Healthy Holidays has enabled us to make plans regarding the future of the programme.
What the children said:
“Different sorts of equipment”
“Doing creative stuff […] like pictures and making baskets for Easter”
“Mashed potato and on a Friday pizza”
“More food options”
“Basketball, football, cricket”
What the parents said:
“Put the children into age related groups when doing some activities”
“Less bread, sandwiches/wraps”
“Second child discount would be great (20% off)”
“Dislike the time it finishes 6pm would be better due to work commitments”
“Maybe take children to local park on last day as a treat (weather permitting)”
“9am – 5pm start and finish. This club should run through the 6 week holiday as well”
Changes we will make:
1. Deliver lessons on nutrition to the children
2. Extend the range of activities to include more dance and art related activities
3. Expand the programme across different parts of North Birmingham
4. Continue to involve children in designing the menu and in food preparation
5. Provide an opportunity for children to prepare and serve a simple meal for their parents by the end of the programme