Summer holiday food, activities and childcare programme: guidance for local authorities

Guidance for local authorities and commissioned partners to assist in the development of a programme of coordinated access to childcare, food, and activities during the 2022 school summer holidays.

2. Underpinning principles

The driver diagram included at Annex A illustrates intended programme aims and outcomes. It is designed to help guide partners through design and delivery of services in order to identify what specific local action can be taken to help maximise the impact of this funding and improve the wellbeing of eligible children and young people.

The 2022 Summer Holiday Programme should be viewed as a bridge between the 2021 Get Into Summer offer and future holiday provision, aligned with wider school age childcare expansion. It should retain what worked well last year while beginning to embed new practices to test the changes required to aid development of a year-round system of School Age Childcare and meals provision by the end of this parliament.

Emphasis is on a rights based, stigma-free approach, shaped by what children, young people and their families tell us, aligned with GIRFEC. This should build on what currently exists - enhancing and co-ordinating services and assets locally and nationally - in partnership.

Local authorities should ensure the organisations they work with have appropriate processes for safeguarding, child protection and data protection in relation to employees, volunteers and the people they are supporting. Where there are new pilots, work should start quickly to ensure staff and volunteers undergo disclosure checks, child protection and children's rights training

Focus for summer 2022 should be on:

  • Establishing effective local partnerships that work across all sectors to plan and deliver a holiday programme that coordinates and integrates childcare, activities and food. That promotes inclusion and aims to remove barriers to participation and is responsive to the needs of eligible children and families, making best use of existing provision at local level.
  • Developing effective and non-stigmatising approaches to targeting. Examples include ensuring language used in communications is inclusive; forging relationships with trusted community/faith leaders to promote maximum engagement, reach, and uptake amongst eligible groups; engaging trusted referral partners such as schools and relevant professionals to identify eligible children and families and communicate the offer to them; or offering funded places for eligible children and young people alongside paid-for places available to all to eliminate stigma.
  • Communication and promotion of the summer offer should be coordinated locally in order to maximise engagement among target groups. The Scottish Government is committed to inclusive, non-stigmatising communication - language, cultural differences and levels of digital literacy should all be considered.
  • Overcoming barriers to participation - consideration should be given to how to meet wider family needs and lower costs of participating in the programme, including through transport, food provision, financial inclusion, family support and referral on to wider services where needed. Principles of dignity and human rights should be applied, promoting non-stigmatising provision of services, and supporting inclusive service delivery, for example through cultural or linguistic inclusivity. Local authorities should be responsive to the particular needs of their communities, for instance by offering sessions in Gaelic medium or other widely-spoken minority languages as well as English where appropriate.
  • Taking a place-based approach to delivery that targets areas of multiple deprivation within each local authority area. This is to concentrate funding in areas that have the highest rates of poverty and begin to embed tests of change that will generate the learning required to develop holiday provision for low-income families from 2023 onwards
  • Integrating food provision alongside childcare and activities. Consideration should be given to tackling food insecurity and promoting healthy relationships with food through incorporation of dignified, nutritious and economical food preparation and provision where possible. The food on offer should be culturally appropriate, helping to demonstrate inclusion and to reduce barriers to participation. Working closely with local food suppliers should be encouraged to support local economies and reduce food miles. This aspect of the programme, which overlaps with nutritional education and food education, can be challenging and we encourage local authorities to plan and prepare for this as best they can, including engaging with experts and partners as appropriate.

More detail on approaches local authorities and delivery partners may find useful can be found in the supporting materials section – Annex B

The guiding principles to underpin this approach are:

  • Partnership Working, building on existing services, assets and knowledge

It is expected that existing and new local partnerships will play a key role in ensuring the coordination and reach of provision, including both the regulated and unregulated sectors, to ensure a joined up whole system approach to its development and delivery. Working with the existing childcare sector (ELC and school age childcare), outdoor education providers, activity providers (including sports clubs) and the youth work and CLD sectors will ensure a broad range of interests can be supported. Holiday activities and childcare may already be in place at a local level delivered by a range of partners, and plans may already be underway for summer 2022 provision. The aim of this investment is to enhance any such existing work, building on and learning from existing good practice. Where holiday provision does not exist in any form, funding could be used to establish pilot scheme/s, or if more appropriate to channel all funding to partners to deliver, beginning to test the guiding principles and form the basis of future holiday provision. It is anticipated that this funding will support improved coordination of existing provision, fill gaps and create new opportunities, led by local knowledge and experience.

  • Co-creation of services with children, young people and families

It is important that, as far as possible, any local offers are shaped around what children and young people of all ages say/have said that they want and need. The priorities of those in the target groups outlined above should help shape delivery plans to ensure that support reaches those who would most benefit. Provision should be child-centric, providing opportunities to connect with friends, peers, wider community and the outdoors and to learn new skills. Activities should be as wide ranging and inclusive as possible aiming to cover a wide range of interests, backgrounds and circumstances and be shaped around a theme of fun and play with a view to providing positive experiences. Activities may include: sports; expressive arts; crafts; outdoor learning; outdoor play; trips and visits. Early engagement with children and young people from eligible groups will improve the design and delivery of services and encourage uptake.

  • Moving towards a coordinated, integrated programme of childcare, activities and food, that promotes inclusion and aims to remove barriers to participation

The aim is that within local authority areas there is a variety of provision that offers flexibility and choice to families and responds to their needs. Services will vary across and within authorities, with an expected place-based focus on coordinated services in areas with higher SIMD ratings. Where possible, financial inclusion should be integrated, offering access to holistic support for the wider family to help tackle hardship, for example, by signposting families to suitable partners for advice, or by hosting information sessions via services. The integration of services that offer longer sessions and allows parents to leave their children should be considered, allowing parents and carers more flexibility to work, train or study. Physical food provision, that compliments the free school meal alternative offer, should be integrated where possible, recognising the impact that food can have on children's ability to participate in any activity.



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