Local providers of school holiday activities, professionals and young people came together last week to reflect on the City of Wolverhampton Council’s successful Yo! Wolves programme.

The Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) fund was developed 3 years ago by Department for Education on the back of footballer Marcus Rashford’s concerns for children young people during the main school holidays. 

This funding has been invested in Yo! Wolves, helping the popular school holiday activity programme go from strength to strength, and last year it provided food and activities to 6,612 children and young people in the city.

The conference, held at the Civic Suite and opened by Councillor Jacqui Coogan, the council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education, was an opportunity to look back, reflect on and celebrate the last 3 years. 

Local activity providers including John Paul from Beatsabar, Jenny Martin from Curiosity Productions, Hugh Abercrombie from Wolverhampton Brazilian Jiujitsu and Dominique Williams from the Reach and Unite Outreach and Empowerment CIC, presented and shared some of their successes with the audience.

A tabletop exercise looked in depth at the benefits Yo! Wolves has brought to families, children and young people in the city, as well as to providers and voluntary groups. There is clear feedback that children and young people have grown in confidence and skills, and there has been a positive impact on mental health, wellbeing and engagement at school. Feedback from parents suggested they felt supported, and that the programme was having a positive impact on family life, especially during the cost of living crisis. 

The feedback and recommendations for moving forward from the conference will be included in the HAF annual report which is now being prepared by the council for submission to the Department for Education.

Councillor Coogan said: "Our Yo! Wolves programme has gone from strength to strength over the last 3 years. 

“Last week’s event was a time to reflect from when we started and where we are now. It was also a chance to recognise the hard work that our fantastic providers have put in over the years and to hear from our young people about their experiences. 

“Many of the activities provided through Yo! Wolves continue throughout every school holiday, so it’s not just a one off experience, it’s a chance for youngsters to try something new, learn new skills and keep those skills going. Last year saw more youngsters than ever before joining in with our school holiday programmes and that’s down to the quality of the activities and events that our brilliant local providers are delivering.”

For more information about how to apply for funding as a provider for summer holiday activities 2024, please email haf@wolverhampton.gov.uk

To find out about the activities available during the May half term holidays, please visit Yo! Wolves

Meanwhile, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s WV Active leisure centres are working in partnership with Wolves Foundation to deliver Yo! Active, offering free physical activities for children and young people in Wolverhampton all year round. For full details, please visit Yo! Active