Each year BBC Children in Need makes grants to around 150 holiday playschemes for disadvantaged children across the UK. We conducted an in-house review of holiday playschemes in order to increase knowledge and understanding about their delivery. This review consisted of a comprehensive literature review, 68 separate interviews with holiday playscheme providers, 580 children selfcompleting questionnaires and a focus group of 20 project providers.
Holiday playschemes are fundamentally important for children whose life opportunities are limited. It is not difficult to understand why people might perceive holiday playschemes as operating at the softer end of the need spectrum – a nice-to-have for children rather than a need-to-have.
A challenge to this perspective is that it depends on the child. For a child who lives where it is safe to be outside; who has parental involvement in his or her life or who lives in a community where escalating anti-social behaviour is not a defining feature of school holidays, holiday playschemes are still a positive option. However, they are not necessarily essential in the way that they are for children whose life opportunities are very much more limited. For those children, holiday playschemes can be fundamentally important.
BBC Children in Need recognises that disadvantaged children benefit greatly from attending holiday playschemes. School holidays, especially the long summer breaks, can be isolating and boring for many children, in particular for those experiencing the physical and social effects of poverty and those who are disabled. Holiday playschemes benefit these disadvantaged children by enabling them to connect with friends and sympathetic adults, have experiences that broaden their horizons and give them memories to embrace and share. They play a defining role by providing something to do and creating experiences that children carry into their later lives.
Further, the value of holiday playschemes extends beyond individual children’s lives onto their family relationships and engagement with their local community.
For the full review please click here