Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

Get involved in a week of inclusive half-term activities for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

Monday, 25 October 2021

We're partnered with SNAP PCF to offer a free swimming session for families of children with SEND this half-term, as part of a wider programme of inclusive activities taking place throughout the week.

The free SEND swimming session will take place at Houghton Regis Leisure Centre on Wednesday 27 October, from 1:30pm until 3:30pm, and families can turn up on the day without booking.

Local organsations, including the Greenland Trust, will also be hosting inclusive events throughout half-term, including spooky Halloween walks at Rushmere Park and Houghton Hall Park, and a bird migration trail at Dunstable Downs.

The programme of activities follows the successful Summer of SEND programme, where, with our partners, we offered a comprehensive series of activities, events, and workshops for families with SEND over the summer holiday. Parents were particularly complimentary about the activities which included a summer bug hunt, summer camp dance sessions.

Councillor Sue Clark, our Executive member for Families, Education and Children said:

Just like with the summer programme, we hope these autumn activities will be one way to bring back a small piece of normality for many families in Central Bedfordshire. I hope the children, young people and their parents get the opportunity to sample and enjoy what’s on offer.

What's on

The inclusive activities on offer throughout the week include:

Halloween Woollen Woods – Rushmere Country Park

Woollen Woods returns to the park this October Half Term with a Halloween theme featuring spooky knitted woodland creatures native to Bedfordshire. Find all the knitted figures hiding along the Sculpture Trail and vote for your favourite.

To make it even more fun pick up our special Halloween Fun trail leaflet from Visitor Services for £3.50 per child which you can complete as you view the trail – includes a small prize at the end.

Xplorer – Rushmere and Houghton Hall Park

Xplorer is a free family friendly navigation challenge that is educational and fun and gives children a sense of adventure as they explore the park to find markers. It involves a healthy mix of physical activity and decision making that the whole family can enjoy together. At each marker, children need to identify what is pictured and enjoy learning a fun fact. Sessions are available at Rushmere Country Park and Houghton Hall Park.

Willow Bird Feeder Workshop – Houghton Hall Park

Come along and try weaving your very own willow bird feeder at Houghton Hall Park on Thursday 28 October. As we head into the autumn and winter months food sources for birds start to run low and they need an extra hand. Why not have a go and make your own refillable bird feeder using willow, lard and bird seed! This event is open to those aged 8 and over as Ranger Eleanor teaches you how to weave your very own bird feeder. All tools, equipment and materials will be provided. If you wish to wear gloves, please bring some along with you. Entry is £4.50 per person.

Read more about the Willow Bird Feeder Workshop.

Halloween at Houghton Hall Park

Experience Halloween like never before with an evening in Houghton Hall Park. A witch needs to remember her spell so all the children can have their treats, are you brave enough to help her do this by following a spooky trail in the park? Once you have solved the clues take the finished spell to the witch, and she will give you your wand (to keep!). Say the magic words and your treat will appear!

The Halloween evening will take place park between 5pm and 7pm on Sunday 31 October. The event is aimed at under 10s, fancy dress is welcome, all children must be accompanied by an adult, and the park will be dark so please bring a torch if you have one (or use your phone). Walk to the park if you can as parking is limited.

Tickets are £4 per child and must be booked in advance on our website and are non-refundable unless we cancel the event.

Find out more about Halloween at Houghton Hall Park.

October half term trail at Dunstable Downs

This half term, why not get involved in our autumn bird migration trail? Put on your wellies and crunch through the leaves as you help the birds find their way home.

Our resident robin needs your help. Join the trail and find all eight boarding passes along the way to get his friends off in time and prepare to welcome his winter visitors.

You will also receive a small craft activity to do at home to help birds over the winter.

The trail starts at the Chilterns Gateway Centre and runs from Monday 25 October to Sunday 31 October, 10am until 4pm. The cost is £3 per child.

SEND family swim session at Houghton Regis Leisure Centre

Families of children with SEND can come along for a free session on Wednesday 27 October, from 1:30pm until 3:30pm and no booking is required.

Find out more about the SEND swim session.