Sheffield Healthy Holidays

In Summer 2020 Sheffield Healthy Holidays launched an initiative.  Supporting children and families in our city to access activities and ideas to stay active during school holidays. For more information about the city wide offer visit

The Summer holidays were funded by the Department for Education with an aim to reach 50% of children on free school meals. The project was broken down in to wards.  Each ward then able to design their activities and plans around their local needs.

Manor and Castle Development Trust were given the task of co-ordinating this offer across Manor Castle, Norfolk Park & Arbourthorne, Woodthorpe and Darnall. With such a large investment for the summer we were able to provide partners with resources and employ the team needed to create a record breaking offer in our area. Each week 30+ people put together 1224 Healthy Holiday Hampers with a further 40+ volunteers helping to distribute these through our network of 25 collection points. In the four weeks across Manor Castle, Norfolk Park & Arbourthorne and Woodthorpe we gave out 3596 hampers and 4240 activity items including cricket sets, hula hoops, arts and crafts, science kits and more that supported 1390 children each week.

The Department for Education in the Summer provided funding for activities too. We were able to use this funding for sports camps, science clubs, arts sessions, family activities at Manor Lodge and more with 604 children accessing these.

The Department for Education funding was only for the summer holidays though and therefore after the summer the process needed to change. But due to the great success Sheffield City Councils, People Keeping Well team, put aside a small amount of money to fund to support the project in key wards on a much smaller scale. The funding allocated is based on the Index of Multiple Deprivation, a tool Sheffield City Council use to provide funding to reach those who will benefit most.

The funding, like the DfE for summer, was for school holidays only and to support children aged 4+ who receive means tested free school meals or those who would benefit for other reasons too.

The funding is only 10% of what was received for the summer and so the resources available would be far smaller. Sheffield City Council provided little notice of the funding too, so decisions had to be made quick and the model adapted to save costs. Great Places have also supported the project and provided match funding to support our work. Each holiday takes roughly 6 weeks to plan, with time then needed after for the collection and processing of monitoring. Therefore MCDT, MASKK and schools have also committed a large amount of staff time In kind to ensure as much of the funding as possible can go on the food and activities to reach more families.

With reduced resources it was decided that hampers would be created and given to local schools and family support workers to give out to families across Manor Castle, Norfolk Park & Arbourthorne and Woodthorpe. Schools and their dedicated staff teams know the local families and who would benefit most. We then directed any family that asked us to speak to their school, who are also able to signpost and offer other support when needed.

These hampers are packed by volunteers over 3 full days and are designed by Registered Associate Nutritionist, Holly, from MCDT to include healthy meals that families will enjoy and might then recreate. Craig from MASKK helps put together some activity ideas to help pass the time which along with the recipes are printed in our Healthy Holidays Booklet.

Where funding and restrictions allow, we have also worked with partners to support activities. For example, In October 2020 over 200 people attended an activity and received a free pumpkin from MASKK, Friends of Manor Fields Park or Best Start. 25 children received a free fruit bag when attending football in Lower Manor with Sheffield Wednesday and 50+ people enjoyed a day out at Manor Lodge. For Christmas we created 3 pop up free toy shops, giving vouchers to schools and support workers to share with families struggling to buy Christmas presents for their children. At these we provided presents for over 300 children.

In October Half Term 350 hampers were distributed including 2 family meals reaching 909* people, Christmas we increased this due to demand to 450 hampers including 4 family meals and a chocolate treat reaching 1450* people and February 450 hampers with two meals and a little treat with monitoring due in soon.

Schools have had a difficult and busy year too, but still managed to support us in this task, some schools giving out as few as 12 while others 40. But where schools struggled due to capacity, we found partners to step in and in February Woodthorpe TARA and Community Shop were able to distribute 40 hampers in place of Woodthorpe School and MASKK and the Arbourthorne Centre supported families from Emmaus to access hampers too.

Any remaining hampers are then promoted via social media and collected by other local families so nothing goes to waste.

The current funding from the council was only for the period October 2020 until February 2021. With Easter falling into the new financial year we are hopeful that Sheffield City Council will continue to support the project.

We would like to thank all the local schools and partners across the area that have given their time and support to this project during a challenging year! And a huge thank you to the staff and volunteers that have worked tirelessly to deliver such a fantastic project!

*Based on returned monitoring forms. Some forms are not returned and so the actual number is potentially higher.