Aberdeen City Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee has been given an overview of the positive impact that last year’s Autumn in the City programme has had on the health and wellbeing of the city’s children and young people.
A budget of £173,000 was provided for the programme of play activities for children and young people during the October school holidays and councillors also agreed to use the underspend to help fund the forthcoming Easter programme as part of the authority’s ongoing commitment to ensuring the free holiday programmes are permanent fixtures in the city calendar.
The report highlighted that the average enjoyment rating was 9.8/10 among participants which is higher than previous programmes.
The universal programme made 2,314 bookable opportunities available to all children and young people in the city as well as numerous drop-in activities in parks, museums, galleries, and local communities.
The programme for priority groups made a total of 2,621 bookable opportunities with 442 of these being weeklong and multi-day camps and activities.
Bespoke arrangements were also put in place to allow children with the most complex needs to benefit from time to play over the holiday period. This included a holiday club for children who attend Orchard Brae School to access fun sessions in a familiar environment.
Committee Convener, Councillor Martin Greig, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to come in under budget while still delivering such a successful Autumn of Play which, like its predecessors has had such a beneficial impact on the health and wellbeing of participants and, in, particular priority groups.
“The £77,000 underspend will be added to the budget for this year’s Easter programme to help ensure that we and our partners continue to provide a wide range of free activities
Vice convener, Councillor Jessica Mennie said: "This is another really encouraging report which again highlights the hugely positive impact of our targeted programme on children and young people particularly in priority groups.
“It was fantastic to learn of the high take-up of the activities on offer from priority families and their enjoyment of them.”
The report highlighted the targeted programme benefited those in the priority groups with participation statistics as follows:
· 33% of children and young people were from lone parent families;
· 35% of children and young people were from ethnic minority families;
· 21% of children from families with a disabled adult or child (or those with additional support need);
· 4% of children and young people were from families with a young mother (under 25);
· 7% of children and young people were from families with a child under 1 year old; · 32% of children and young people were from larger families (3+ children).