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Providing a helping hand to County Durham families during the school holidays

Published July 29, 2020 10.54am

Families across County Durham are being offered support with holiday activities and meals throughout the summer holidays.

The 3 Towns Partnership, one of our 14 Area Action Partnerships (AAPs) is helping to fund a number of projects across Crook, Willington and Tow Law as part of our £1.4m coronavirus support fund and its holiday activity and healthy food fund.

The AAP has donated more than £20,000 to help a number of groups in its local area provide lunches and ingredients to vulnerable families and children, and offer enriching activities for families over the six-week holidays.

More information about AAPs and the services available can be found on our Area Action Partnerships page.

Supporting families

Churches Together in Crook is using its funding to provide lunches to those who don't have access to free school meals during the summer holiday period. The group is preparing meals, which are being delivered across the three towns, every Wednesday of the holidays in order to support those who are struggling financially.

Meanwhile, Willington Open Door Church is providing a healthy recipe and ingredients to school age children and their families each week. As well as giving priority to those who are vulnerable, they're also offering to support families with their weekly budgeting to help show how their money can be made to go further.

Groundwork North East and Cumbria is also supporting children in Crook and the surrounding areas. The group is providing activities and nutritious meals to those under the age of 16 and their parents. The project, which aims to raise attainment, improve eating habits and increase physical activity levels and improve access to healthy food, has received almost £2,500 from the holiday activity and healthy food fund.

An active summer

Other projects supporting families across the three towns aim to help keep children and families occupied and active this summer.

Durham Wildlife Trust has received money from the AAP's coronavirus fund to lead wildlife activity sessions for family groups on Hedleyhope Nature Reserve in Tow Law, and the parks and open spaces around Crook.

Each week has a different theme and at the end of each session, families can take away a resource pack with craft ideas and activities to complete at home. It's estimated that almost 300 people will benefit from this project alone.

Another 200 families will benefit from doorstep gigs organised by performers from Jack Drum Arts, who are performing at an agreed date and time outside a family home, wearing colourful costumes. Families are able to choose to watch from the window, on the doorstep, in the garden or the yard whilst following social distancing guidelines and every child receives a book illustrated by local artist Jillian Greenwood before the performers leave.

Other projects to benefit from funding include the Sunniside Community Association which is providing children and young adults with the opportunity to paint and fly their own kites, and SLAM, a holiday programme offering two-hour craft activities to children, three times each week.

Benefitting communities

Cllr Brian Stephens, Cabinet member for neighbourhood and local partnerships, said: "The summer holidays can be a challenging time for many families, particularly those who are struggling financially, so it's fantastic that alongside the 3 Towns AAPs, we have been able to fund so many projects which will make a huge difference to so many families and young people. I'm sure these will bring many benefits to communities across Crook, Willington and Tow Law.

"This year, we know that there are added stresses and worries brought about by the coronavirus pandemic but there is so much support for people through our AAPs and I would urge everyone to look into what help, support and activities are on offer on their doorstep this summer - particularly when travelling further afield is more challenging."

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