Thousands of children benefit from free Sportscool holiday clubs

A specialist provider of sports education for primary schools delivered free Easter clubs for more than 7,300 children through the government-funded Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme.

Rishton headquartered SportsCool, which offers a diverse range of activities, organized the holiday clubs in 15 towns and cities across England, from Newcastle to south east London.

The Department for Education scheme has been set up to provide nutritious meals and rewarding activities during school breaks and is helping many families, including some who might otherwise struggle with the extra cost of food and child care.

SportsCool currently has 28 operations across the UK, working closely with more than 400 education providers. All its activities are underpinned by the company’s ethos of “Educate: Motivate: Participate”.

It worked in partnership with local authorities to deliver the holiday clubs. Director Lee Lysons said: “Research has shown that the school holidays can be pressure points for some families.

“The HAF programme is a response to this issue, with evidence showing that free holiday clubs can have a positive impact on children and young people, helping tackle problems such as social isolation.

“At SportsCool we firmly believe that sports education is fundamental to every child’s development and that is central to the HAF programme activities we deliver.

“We also believe that every child should have the chance to participate, progress and achieve in physical activities.

“This in turn has a profound effect on self-esteem, confidence, motivation, physical aptitude, and all-round mental and physical health.

“With that thinking central to the programme, we’ve worked hard with a number of councils to set up HAF holiday clubs that provide young people with a wide range of fun activities.

“They have been extremely well received by the youngsters and their parents and guardians, with 7,390 children attending our Easter holiday sessions, which were organized by 15 of our operations across England.

“We use positive rewards in everything that we do, our sessions raise aspirations, are accessible to all, and, most of all, they are fun.

“As a result, we see the youngsters blossom into confident, healthy and aspiring individuals.”

Last October the government announced a further investment of over £ 200 million a year over the next three financial years for the HAF programme, following the successful roll out of the programme across England in 2021.

Last summer (2021) alone, almost three-quarters of a million children benefitted from fun activities and healthy food through the HAF programme.

SportsCool, which was founded in Blackburn, is looking to open another 20 operations over the next 12 months.

It offers schools a diverse range of sports, from fencing and archery to ultimate frisbee and tri-golf, plus many more.

The business was founded by sports coaches Lee Lysons, Matt Parker and Andy Preston.

As well as Blackburn, in the North West it has branches in Bolton, Fylde, Preston, Bury and Cheshire East.

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