‘School’s Out’ for Food and Fun at Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen

Following last year’s success and supported with Welsh Government funding, Bridgend County Borough Council’s ‘School Holiday Enrichment Programme’ (SHEP) has been rolled out for another year at Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen and Cynffig Comprehensive School.

The school-based programme provides advice and education on nutrition and cooking, and fun-filled activity and enrichment sessions whilst also helping reduce the social isolation sometimes experienced by some children during the long school holidays. Food-based fun including creating fruit pizzas, discovering the hidden sugars in food, trying a new healthy food each day, water safety sessions, Parkour, Thai Chi, and a rugby session with the Ospreys. The children also managed to meet some animals, with a visit from a calf and a dog training demonstration. This is part of a wide programme of activities for children and families across the Ogmore constituency during the summer.

Bridgend Council Leader Huw David and Cabinet Members Dhanisha Patel and Charles Smith were invited along to school to participate in one of the sessions along with Local AM Huw Irranca-Davies.

They joined the children and parents for a freshly-cooked meal prepared by staff in the on-site kitchens at Coleg Cymenudol y Dderwen, then rolled up their sleeves and put their aprons on to join the bakery class making fresh pizzas. The pizzas were all different shapes and sizes, but they went down well with all the junior and adult bakers!

The visitors also heard about the far-reaching benefits the SHEP programme is having on their local community, including helping children and families with the costs of school holidays, and providing some additional work opportunities for those running the programme during the summer.

Ogmore Assembly Member Huw Irranca-Davies said: “We had a great time at the school and thank you to the children, staff and volunteers for their welcome and allowing us to join in with their session.

The school holidays can be a strain – financially and otherwise – for already struggling families and these sessions provide the children with fun social experiences and also nutritious meals, filling the void left by the absence of free breakfast clubs and free school dinners during the school holidays. While this is part of a much wider programme of summer activities locally, this specific programme goes a long way to helping extend these opportunities for all our children and families, wherever they live and whatever their circumstances. I am so proud that this is happening through the support and commitment of Welsh Government and our local authorities.”

Cllr Dhanisha Patel, Cabinet Member for Future Generations and Wellbeing, said: “I’m thrilled that we have been able to run this programme once again in Bridgend County Borough. This year, over 60 pupils attended, which was three times as many as last year, meaning that more and more children are benefiting from the fantastic opportunities that this programme offers. School holidays can often be a challenging time for a lot of parents and carers so I’m proud that we have been able to help support these families and educate children on the importance of healthy, nutritional diets too. I’d like to thank all of the staff who worked so hard to put together our ‘Food and Fun’ programme and all of our partners who offered such diverse activities for the children to take part in. I’m excited about the potential to expand the scheme and hopefully introduce it in other parts of the county borough in the coming years.”