Let’s give the children a summer to remember!

Summer school project for disadvan­taged children launches fundraiser

Friday, 21st January — By Anna Lamche

Kayaking

A SUMMER school project for disadvan­taged children has launched a fundraiser for this year’s camp, with organisers urging residents to “fund a good summer for their neighbour’s children”.

St Peter’s Summer Project provides roughly 35 disadvan­taged children from Islington’s St Peter’s ward with a free programme of activities during the summer holidays.

The project, which has so far been run entirely by volunteers, has become a mainstay of life over the summer for many children in the area. As the scheme becomes an embedded part of the St Peter’s community, organisers are hoping to hire a permanent staff member.

The summer school began in 2019 in an effort “to bridge the gap of the long summer break,” said project chair Sue Richards. “Lots of research has shown that disad­vantaged children lose pace during that break.”

The summer school, which runs throughout August, offers “good fun learning opportunities. We’re not doing anything that looks like sitting in rows,” Ms Richards said.

“We fundraise during the winter period, the project is quite expensive to run because it’s staffed by teachers at proper teacher rates.”

The project hopes to raise £25,000 by the time schools are out for summer, with money raised via council schemes, foundations and charities, also relying on personal donations.

“Like much of Islington, in our area it’s a mix of people comfortably off and people who are really struggling, so we’re appealing for people who can fund a good summer for their neighbour’s children,” Ms Richards said.

The summer school, which runs from the Arc Centre in Angel, offers children a range of activities, from outdoor sports and language learning to arts and crafts.

Vivien Cutler, the current voluntary project manager, took the children to see Arsenal play in 2019. “They loved that and so did we,” she said. Spanish lessons have also proved to be “one of the most popular things,” she added, along with cooking lessons and time spent gardening.

Children partici­pa­ting get fed a good meal.

“We concentrate a lot on fresh fruit and veg. Any child who needs breakfast gets breakfast, and they all get a mid-morning snack and a pretty wholesome lunch,” Ms Cutler said.

The summer school is taking a holistic approach to children’s welfare. “We’re trying to strengthen their resilience so they can approach learning with confidence, so they don’t forget too much over the holidays,” she said.

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