On a sunny August morning during the school holiday, we popped along to Briscoe Primary School in Basildon to see the ATF holiday activity club in action.
We were greeted by 70 smiling faces, a sea of noise and an amazing combination of activities for the children to try.
The activity club runs through the summer holiday and is part funded by the VVU. It aims to bring fun activities to primary aged children of working families who need that bit extra support during the holidays. ATF (which stands for Achieve, Thrive, Flourish) taps into ready-made communities – such as this school community – to build a sense of togetherness, providing activities and programmes young people and their families can get involved in and strengthening community cohesion.
Briscoe Primary is a great base as ATF can use the school field, classrooms, playground, and sports hall. Space for plenty of different activities. On offer when we visited was tennis, rugby, dance, gymnastics, science, and arts and craft.
During our visit we chatted to some of the children who said how much they enjoyed the club. They liked making new friends, doing fun activities and the good lunches! A lot said if they weren’t at the club they’d probably just be at home or hanging around.
The school staff at Briscoe Primary are supportive of – and involved in – both the summer club, and the wider ATF presence in the local community. From preparing the holiday camp lunches and being part of the on-site safeguarding team, through to the school caretaker opening the grounds and volunteering at the term time after-school club.
ATF is all about giving back benefits to the community, through community involvement and empowerment. They find and work with key individuals who are passionate about their area, individuals who are happy to volunteer and get involved. This passion then helps to create opportunities for families, children and young people, ensuring communities get the resources they need on their doorstep.
As we left the holiday club a game of touch rugby was starting, tennis balls were flying everywhere and the upbeat music from a Zumba dance class was drifting out of an open window and 70 boys and girls were making happy summer memories.