Nurturing Creativity CIC, a community organisation based in Calderdale, has been presented with the prestigious Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) Regional Champion Award for Yorkshire and Humber at this year’s HAF Programme Awards. The organisation’s outstanding efforts in supporting children from low-income families during school holidays have earned them this esteemed recognition.

The HAF Programme aims to alleviate the financial burden on parents and provide enriching experiences for children through holiday clubs held during the Christmas, Easter, and summer breaks. These clubs, attended by hundreds of thousands of children across England, offer activities such as football, play sessions, and cooking classes.

Nurturing Creativity CIC demonstrated an exceptional commitment to providing engaging activities for children during the holidays. Their dedication has made them stand out among the 8,000 clubs, events, and organised activities in England that offered experiences to approximately 600,000 children during the summer of 2022.

Kirilea Whitehead, a representative of Nurturing Creativity CIC, expressed her gratitude for the HAF Programme and emphasised the impact their holiday clubs have on children. She stated, “The HAF Programme has enabled us to provide safe, fun, and engaging holiday clubs of the highest quality in Ovenden and Illingworth. We encourage children from these areas to step outside their comfort zone and ‘Give it a Go,’ building their confidence, character, and self-esteem.”

Whitehead further emphasised the value of their clubs to children, families, schools, and staff involved. Winning the HAF Regional Champion Award serves as a testament to the collective effort and dedication of all those who contribute to creating a vibrant and innovative environment that inspires and engages children.

Councillor Sarah Courtney, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Towns, Tourism, and Voluntary Sector, extended her congratulations to Nurturing Creativity CIC and acknowledged their vital role in supporting Calderdale’s young people. She stated, “Congratulations to Nurturing Creativity CIC for winning this prestigious award! It’s an amazing achievement and well-deserved recognition for everything they do for Calderdale’s young people.”

Cllr Courtney also highlighted the significance of partnerships between the council, the Community Foundation for Calderdale, and community organisations like Nurturing Creativity in addressing the challenges faced by families in financial need. Together, with the support of the Holiday Activities and Food Programme, they strive to reduce inequalities, combat child hunger, and provide young people with opportunities to achieve their potential.

Steve Duncan, CEO of Community Foundation for Calderdale, expressed pride in Nurturing Creativity CIC’s achievement and emphasised the high quality of Healthy Holidays projects in Calderdale. He said, “Reducing inequalities and investing in children is important. We are so proud that the regional winner for Yorkshire and the Humber is from Calderdale and feel that this reflects the high quality of Healthy Holidays projects that are running in our borough.”

Minister Claire Coutinho, Minister for Children, Families, and Wellbeing, praised the HAF Programme for its positive impact on children across the country. She commended Nurturing Creativity CIC for going above and beyond in providing an exceptional experience to children, which led to their selection as this year’s HAF Regional Champion for Yorkshire and the Humber.

The HAF Programme, launched as a pilot in 2018, was a response to the challenges faced by low-income families during school holidays. These challenges include limited access to organised out-of-school activities, social isolation, and inadequate nutrition and physical health. The program offers free places to school-aged children from reception to year 11 who receive benefits-related free school meals. Government funding, channelled through local authorities, supports the provision of clubs during summer, Easter, and Christmas breaks.