Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

Our holiday activities programme proves a hit with young people

Friday, 10 September 2021

Our holiday activities and food programme has proved a hit amongst young people and their parents after a fun filled week at Woburn Safari Park!

In August, children registered on the programme spent a week at Woburn Safari Park and got the chance to go behind the scenes and work with staff to take care of the animals. They spent time feeding giant tortoises and cleaning their shells, set up feed bags for donkeys and ponies and fed the penguins.

They were also able to tour the park and see elephants, giraffes, lemurs and monkeys and find out more about the animals from the park’s experienced keepers. The highlight of the week was a behind the scenes Safari Off Road Adventure in a VIP Land Rover!

One mum told us:

The staff have been great, and the girls come home every day so happy and excited – and tired! Thank you so much to everyone who is involved in this.

One early help family partner gave feedback to say:

One of my young people did the Woburn activity this week and she loved it! Each day she was more excited. It was clearly a good group of children and she made friends, learnt loads about animals and just had a lovely break away from home.

Our holiday activities and food programme is for children eligible for benefit related free school meals, which is a requirement of the Department for Education who fund the programme. We worked with providers across Central Bedfordshire to fund summer holiday activities for children aged 5 and upwards, which included learning to play instruments, taking part in holiday clubs, playing sports and joining in with dance, drama and music workshops. The activities were designed to be inclusive, but there were also specific activities targeted at children with special education needs and disabilities (SEND).

We worked with schools and social workers to promote the scheme, as well as emailing eligible families directly, and parents were encouraged to sign up on our website. The programme gave an opportunity for children to take part in fun activities during the summer holidays, and were also provided with snacks and a healthy lunch each day.

Coundillor Sue Clark, our Executive Member for Families, Education and Children, said:

We have had some wonderful feedback from children who have taken part in the HAF programme this summer. The behind the scenes activities at Woburn Safari Park sounded really exciting and some of the children who took part have expressed an interest in working with animals as a result of their time at the Safari Park. It is great that Woburn Safari Park have been able to support this initiative and I am glad we have been able to make a difference to so many children’s summer holidays with a really wide range of brilliant activities to enjoy.

Nicky Saunders, Head of Education & Customer Services at Woburn Safari Park, said:

It has been wonderful to be able to work in partnership with the council and provide holiday workshop places to children in the local area who we have not worked with before. The staff thoroughly enjoyed working with them and the children were very excited by the different activities on offer.