Firstsite’s trailblazing Holiday Fun programme for kids in north Essex is back

Firstsite Holiday Fun is back to provide families with the perfect day out during school holidays – combining art, physical activity, and nutritious food to help children stay happy, healthy, and creative.

Created and coordinated by Firstsite, the hugely popular Holiday Fun programme returns to the Colchester art gallery and Harwich Arts & Heritage Centre on Thursday 22 July in time for the start of the Summer school break.

Running every weekday from Thursday 22 July to Friday 27 August, the programme offers children from north Essex the opportunity to enjoy drop-in art activities and a variety of fun outdoor sport sessions, before sitting down to a delicious hot lunch with all the family.

All the art and sports sessions, plus lunch, are completely FREE for families that qualify for benefits-based free school meals, or those that require additional support during the school holidays.

The art-based fun begins at 10am and runs until 2:30pm, with the hour-long sports events kicking off at 10:45am and midday in both locations. Both Harwich and Firstsite’s canteens will be open for two lunchtime sittings at 11:45am and 1pm in Colchester and at 12:00pm and 1:15pm in Harwich.

Holiday Fun follows the ‘5 Ways to Wellbeing’ ethos: with activities carefully designed to encourage children to Connect, Give, Learn, Be Active and practice Mindfulness. Activities are most suitable for children between 4 and 11-years old, but all ages are welcome.

The entire Holiday Fun programme, from art and sport activities to meals in the canteen, will follow Covid-19 safety regulations and be carefully managed by Firstsite’s friendly and expert team to ensure every child and family has a happy, positive and inspiring experience.

Since 2017, Firstsite has provided over 8,000 meals to 800 families in Colchester and Harwich – representing almost 10% of the families currently living in poverty in the two areas. Almost 4,000 of these meals have been provided during the pandemic to families who require additional support during school holidays.

“Keeping kids occupied and entertained for an hour, let alone six weeks, can be quite a challenge!” says Firstsite Director, Sally Shaw MBE. “And the costs quickly add up, which can put immense pressure on parents. That is why we are delighted to once again be able to offer Holiday Fun activities for free during the long break from school.”

“Holiday Fun is a great way for families to have fun together, relieve the financial pressures of providing extra meals during the holidays and connect with other local families. The benefits of seeing and making art, being active and socialising together over food are, literally, priceless. We love welcoming families to our gallery and the Harwich Arts & Heritage Centre, and we are looking forward to creating amazing experiences for every family – where children can explore their imaginations and let off steam and families can relax, be creative and enjoy good food together.”

Bookings for Summer Holiday Fun are now open with additional places available three days in advance of each session. To reserve places – at either venue – call 01206 713 700 or book via the website – Spaces are limited and offered on a first come, first served basis.

Firstsite’s Holiday Fun Summer 2021 is supported by using public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England and is part of Active Essex’s ActivAte Holiday Activity and Food programme.

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