A programme in Bude has been recognised for its efforts in providing holiday activities for vulnerable and less advantaged children.
Liam Dart has been running Bude-based company LJD Coaching’s holiday programme since Easter 2022. The programme provides multi-sports, music and dance activities for children during the school holidays.
The aim is to offer activities, exercise and a hot meal to those who otherwise may not have access to such.
Speaking to the Post, Liam said: “We went full time self employed in 2021 and the Time 2 Move Holiday programmes were not present in Bude and Stratton at the time of 2022. I had previously successfully run Time 2 Move programmes in my previous role at Budehaven Community School and decided to sign up so there was an offer in Bude again.”
Time2Move is a programme run by Active Cornwall, it welcomes all children aged five to 16 is completely funded for children of ‘Pupil Premium’ families. Activities are held all over Cornwall with many different opportunities to get children out and about and keep them moving.
LJD Coaching are supported by Time 2 Move, meaning children receiving free school meals are able to attend completely free of charge.
“Following our first programme in Easter 2022,” Liam continued, “I realised how many people were unable to access the programme but needed it and were struggling with the cost of living.
“People needed to work but then couldn’t afford the childcare costs, meaning then they weren’t working but still struggling with the rising cost of living.
“After approaching Bude and Stratton Town Council and discovering they were looking into ways to support local families we were able to extend our support to all local children living in Bude and Stratton offering them the ability to attend the programme for £5 a day receiving a hot meal, though this is increasing due to rising costs to £7 a day.”
Liam recently attended a Bude-Stratton Town Council meeting to discuss support for the programme. In previous years the council has offered funding to create vouchers for children specifically living or schooling in Bude and Stratton.
Speaking to the council, he said: “We have had the support of Bude-Stratton Town Council in previous years, which has allowed children of Bude and Stratton to attend day activities.
“We had 1,818 bookings over the sixteen days over the summer...983 that attended were from Bude and Stratton Town Council’s vouchers, we had 710 free school meal children, and we had 20 children attend who paid full price.”
Following his presentation, the council agreed to fund company’s Christmas event, however, they would need to hold a procurement exercise for Easter and Christmas programmes to ensure they were funding the best organisation for the task, though they did note that any company would need to be offering all the benefits that LJD Coaching currently provides.
Through partnership work with Co-op Bude and Morrisions Bude, since Easter 2023 the group has also been able to provide breakfast for all children attending the group. On top of this, they have long standing partnership with Sainsbury’s in Bude who provide fruit for every child each day.
Liam told the Post: “We are fully inclusive and children with additional needs are supported where required with 1:1’s to ensure all children can access the activities we run. We provide, a range of sports activities, music, art and craft, dance and Lego activities.
“We work with Churches Together in Bude and Stratton who provide us the Lego and on some programmes church volunteer leaders have come and run the art and craft. Other local groups we have worked with include, Blend Youth Group and Cognition Learning.
When asked how it feels to be able to support those in need, Liam said: “As a group of staff, we all have a passion for working with children and providing the best we can, we take great pride in what we do and enjoy what we do. Being able to provide a provision which children enjoy coming to, and parents, guardians, schools and family support teams have confidence to send children to fills us with great pride. It’s not only the families and children who attend we are able to support; in addition to our small regular team who work throughout the year, we employ additional staff for holiday programmes, TA’s and staff from local schools, we also provide work and work experience for students who are aiming to go into teaching and coaching or education support work, students who are completing sports leaders qualifications and the Duke of Edinburgh Award. We also hire Stratton Primary School or Bude Infants Academy giving them income throughout the summer. We hope we can continue to provide this service for 100 children a day and extend it beyond Bude and Stratton.”