HUNDREDS of school children enjoyed a vast range of fun activities and healthy meals on the latest Rossendale Holiday Activities and Food programme.

Rossendale Leisure Trust secured £200k to run the 2023 programme at Easter, over the summer holiday and four-days during the Christmas break.

The HAF programme is funded by the Department For Education and managed by Lancashire County Council.

Rossendale HAF Co-ordinator Paul Gallagher said: “Over Easter we had 390 primary age pupils and 75 secondary school students attending the different sessions from both mainstream and special educational needs schools.

“For secondary students, we offered make-up workshops, skiing, snowboarding, trampolining, swimming and circus activities.

“The feedback we received from providers was that the sessions were well attended. The programme gives participants the opportunity to try a wide range of activities they may not normally get to do at a venue that is close to their home.”

Nancy Turner, whose grandchildren attended Paper Chase, a fun and creative session involving newspapers, painting, words and writing, said: “The children have really enjoyed it. Thank you for all your hard work.”

Over the Easter project, Rob Larcombe from Healthy Heads Education, visited several different venues to run nutrition-based workshops to underline the importance of eating a healthy diet as well as enjoying fun activities.

The food element of the HAF project also saw young participants enjoying healthy and nutritious meals provided by Haslingden Community Link and Supreme Catering in Rawtenstall.

Applications have now been received from providers for the summer activities and the timetable will be released in early July; summer places usually fill up fast.

Paul said: “We are offering 16 days over the summer holidays from July 31 to August 24, on Mondays to Thursdays.

“We have a new booking system in place for the summer and we hope that it will make it easier for parents and carers to sign up.”

As well as the HAF activities, which are free for children in receipt of free school meals, Rossendale Leisure Trust also operate holiday clubs which are fee paying and include multiskills at Haslingden Primary School and gymnastics at The Valley Leadership Academy.

The HAF project has now been extended to 2025. – Cathrine Smyth Media.