South Shields mum hails 'godsend' children's holiday clubs as parents struggle through cost of living crisis

A mum has described as a ‘godsend’ a scheme which helps hard-pressed families in South Tyneside access free holiday clubs during school holidays.

Sharon Lamb, 48, says she and her sons Zach, five, and Lucas, three, have made good use of the clubs over the holidays, which she says have been fun and enjoyable as well as a huge help in relieving boredom.

The schemes are run by South Tyneside Council and its partners, using Government funding from the Department for Education.

The clubs are free to those aged between five and 16 who receive free school meals or whose families are experiencing financial hardship.

Sharon Lamb and son's Zach and Lucas, who have attended the Holiday Activities and Food events this summer with Councillor Adam Ellison (rear).

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Sharon, of South Shields, said: “We used to do holiday activities through the children’s centres when the boys were babies and toddlers.

"As they have got older, they love being out and about and are always asking where we are going.

“I contacted the council to ask if Lucas could come along and they told me he was welcome at specific ones as long as he was supervised.

"That has made things so much easier and both boys have really enjoyed the activities.”

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The clubs are being run at various venues throughout South Tyneside but come to an end on Friday, September 2, ahead of children returning to school.

Sharon said Zach and Lucas have enjoyed mud kitchens, sandpits and a street-dancing class at Brockley Avenue Allotment as well as a range of games and crafts at the Sundial, Action Stations at Boldon Lane and at Marsden Health Centre.

She said both boys have both enjoyed a nutritious meal which is a core element of the holiday clubs.

Sharon, who is a single parent, said she heard about the sessions from another mother who made good use of them in summer 2021.

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She said: “A friend raved about the holiday events last summer but Zach was too young to access them.

"This summer, as he is five, we have booked loads. I can honestly say they have been a godsend.

"It has been such a relief not having to worry about the cost of going out and entertaining them every day.

"I would normally have run out of money by now but this year I am managing OK and that’s mainly because of these clubs.

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“We will certainly be using these clubs again at other school holidays. I can’t recommend them highly enough.”

Councillor Adam Ellison, Lead Member for Children, Young People and Families, on South Tyneside ruling Labour cabinet, said the clubs, which include a free nutritious meal, are evidence of ways the borough is delivering on its priority of supporting families.

He said: “With the cost of living crisis putting extreme pressure on families, it is fantastic to see the Summer holiday activities and food clubs providing some much-needed relief for families.

“These clubs are proving to be a lifeline for many families while their children have fun, learn new skills and make new friends.”

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To find out more about the clubs or to book a place visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/holidayclub or email [email protected]