AN extra £2.6m will be invested to support children across Wales during the summer holidays, the Welsh Government announced today (Monday 6 July).
The funding will help local authorities provide childcare and play provision over the summer and enable children aged five to 16 to take part in activities they may have missed out on while they couldn’t go to school during the lockdown.
The extra funding will come from two sources – £1.6m will be made available from the local authority emergency hardship fund to support local authorities to provide childcare and play provision. And £1m will be provided from the education budget to help children and young people re-engage with education over the summer, giving them the opportunity to take part in activities they might have missed out on while not at school such as socialising with their peers and physical activity.
Julie Morgan, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, said: “Our schools and childcare providers have played an important role in ensuring children have safe care, particularly children of critical workers and vulnerable children.
“As the summer holidays approach, it is really important that children continue to have safe care and an opportunity to play safely.
“This extra funding will help to provide that extra support over the summer.”
The Welsh Government will work with the Welsh Local Government Association to determine how this funding will be allocated – it will be targeted at those children who have missed out the most while they have not been able to attend school and particularly towards the needs of vulnerable children in deprived communities
Free school meals will continue to be available for all eligible children over the summer holidays – Wales was the first UK country to make this commitment.
Education Minister Kirsty Williams said: “We have recently seen high-profile campaigns to make free school meals available during the holidays– I was very proud to be able to confirm our commitment, which was made in April that children in Wales would continue to have free school meals during the summer.”
The Coronavirus Childcare Assistance Scheme, which provides the children of critical workers and vulnerable children under five with funded childcare, will continue until the end of August. Its future will be reviewed over the summer.