Easter activity camps led by Featherstone Rovers Foundation bring joy to community
Free food for those in need, days of entertainment and rugby league stars were just a few of the highlights at children's activity camps in Featherstone this Easter.
Throughout the Easter holidays, the Featherstone Rovers Foundation ran different activities for local children, which included dance, multi-sports, rugby and an Easter egg hunt.
The camps, tailored for children ages 4-12, were put in place to help integrate kids back into physical group activities after the pandemic - but also to help tackle holiday hunger, by providing food packs to children eligible for free school meals.
Amy Hardman, Head of Community Development at Featherstone Rovers Foundation, said: “So far the camps have had really good feedback, both from kids and parents, particularly the parents who have been able to get extra hours in at work due to the childcare the camps offer.
“We’ve also had a few foster kids who've taken part and they’ve enjoyed the activities so much that we’ve been able to signpost them to rugby clubs near where they live, so they can keep it up after the camps finish.
“For some children, coming out of lockdown could be quite overwhelming, so the sessions have helped them meet with children their own age, who are outside of their family bubbles, in a socially distanced setting.”
Each session has been funded through Wakefield Council's Children and Young People's Services project, called ‘Our Family, Our Future', and food packs have been donated by the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme.
Some of the Featherstone Rovers first team, including James Harrison, Connor Jones, Junior Moors and Craig Hall have been running camp activities.
According to the foundation, the children have loved being a part of the experience, learning tackling techniques from their role models and taking part in running, kicking and crossbar challenges.
Amy said: “The lads have been great with the kids, it puts a smile on everyone’s face.
“I think sometimes it’s easy to forget what difference you’re actually making to people’s lives, especially after this year.
“Everyone at the grounds has been doing their bit to support our community and welcoming people back to the stadium and seeing people active and happy is lovely.
“They’ve all missed out on so much over the last year.”
The Featherstone Rovers Foundation have put tackling the root problems of school holiday hunger at the forefront of their mission.
They have been working with other groups in the area with similar initiatives to get to the bottom of why families are struggling to feed their children.
And they’ve been providing parents with support to ensure they have the money and resources they need to provide their children with substantial, healthy meals.
Due to the success of the Easter holiday activity camps, the Foundation have decided to host another set of all day activities for children, which will run throughout the June half term.
Amy said: “The next set of classes are going to run longer in the day, so parents who have work commitments can drop their kids off and stay with us in line with regular school hours.
“As well as getting kids up and active, one of the big highlights for us has been welcoming so many new participants to the grounds and teaching them about what we do.
“We’ve been able to do this while tackling the school holiday hunger that Marcus Rashford had highlighted during lockdown last year.
“For us, building relationships with families and being able to support parents in the area is so important, we’ll carry on doing our best to signpost them to other organisations, whether it’s housing or citizens advice or living on a budget.”