Tritility opened its second site in Jarrow last year. While getting to know our community, we learned of the fantastic work of the South Tyneside HAF Programme.
The HAF team, part of South Tyneside Council, is working hard to ensure that children on free school meals aren’t missing out during the holidays. We are delighted to be able to support the project by providing 250 activity kits for participating children.
The Holiday Activities and Food Programme is funded by the Department for Education, and provides activities and meals for kids across the South Tyneside region.
The project started with premier league footballer Marcus Rashford lobbying with MPs about children not having access to nutritious food and social activities during the school holidays.
HAF is mainly aimed at those on free school meals, but children from across the whole council area are welcome to attend the events.
Charlotte Sayers, Holiday Activities and Food Coordinator for South Tyneside Council, said of the scheme: “We want to make sure that [children] are being active, that they are engaged, that they’re not socially isolated. But what it feels like to them, when they turn up, is that there’s loads of fun activities to come and try.”
The scheme has been roundly welcomed by parents. “We’ve had some parents who have been quite emotional about the fact that it’s really helped them with something to do during the holidays, but also the benefit of having some nutritious meals. So hopefully it’s benefitted the whole family,” Charlotte said.
Oh hearing about HAF, Tritility’s directors were immediately keen to support the scheme. Tritility was founded on the belief that social mobility, both among its staff and throughout the local area, is vital to a thriving community. These principles have guided our participation in apprenticeship programmes, the government Kickstart scheme and various charitable activities.
So as the summer holidays came to a close, one corner of the Tritility office became a production line. The team mucked in to pack 250 activity bags, to be distributed throughout the final week of HAF events.
Dried fruit, cereal bars, bottled water and reusable sports bottles were included in the kits to provide hydration and snacks on activity days. We also included ‘back to school’ stationery kits to ensure parents had one less thing to shop for as the new term approaches.
The HAF team kindly invited us along to the St. Jude’s Church family fun day, where 25 of the kits were distributed, to see their great work first hand.
The sheer range of activities on offer was impressive to say the least: A fire engine, bouncy castle and obstacle course offered the children plenty of opportunities to climb and explore. Meanwhile, in the church hall, guided craft activities let the children unleash their creative side.
We spoke to one of the organisers, Reverend Cameron Abernethy, associate priest at St Peter’s Church Harton, about what days like this mean for those who attend.
“[Parents] are thankful for three or four hours where their children are engaged with things that are fun and interesting. Our activities tend to be around working together, creating something, making something, talking about something, and that can be useful for children – especially for those who perhaps have specific needs around communication or fine motor skills.”
The event was also made possible by Rev. Kate Boardman and numerous volunteers, who worked hard to make the day, and others like it, a success.
We have more community work on the horizon. Tritility staff recently selected their charity of choice for 2023, which we’ll reveal very soon. We continue to support a number of causes, both locally and nationally, and we’ll be cheering on individual staff members in their own forthcoming charity endeavours. This includes Tritility team member Chloe Simpson, who will be braving a skydive later this year in aid of veterans’ charities. Watch this space to find out more.