YOUNG people who got to experience new activities on a free project over Easter have taken up new hobbies

As a direct result of trying some of the activities for the first time on the Holiday Activities and Food Programme, HAF, some of the young people have now joined the clubs they were able to sample for free.

Hundreds of children enjoyed free activities and healthy food over Easter and the project will continue over summer.

Invitations have now been sent out for providers to apply to deliver the Rossendale HAF Programme which will run from Monday June 22 to Thursday August 15.

The HAF Programme is funded by the Department For Education and managed by Lancashire County Council.

HAF Co-ordinator Paul Gallagher said: “We had almost 500 young people signed up over Easter and the majority were primary school pupils.

“We had a number of new providers: Jackson’s Boxing in Bacup, Fusion Dance and Fitness in Weir, West Freestyle Martial Arts in Helmshore and a secondary school make up provider.

“Over Easter, we had 26 providers and we used 20 venues across Rossendale. The reason we use so many venues it to ensure that the locations are as accessible as possible for the young people and their parents.

“The feedback we have had has been good and we had a lot of young people trying different activities that were new to them. We were delighted to find out that some had now taken these up as a hobby; without the HAF they would never have experienced them.”

Facilitators interested in applying to provide activities over the summer should contact:

Nearly 2,000 hot and cold lunches were provided by Supreme Catering in Rawtenstall and Haslingden Community Link.

Rossendale Leisure Trust was awarded £240k for 2024 to continue the programme it has run for the past four years.

The HAF Project officially comes to an end early next year, it remains to be seen if the next Government decides to continue to support the programme.

Paul added: “Almost all of the money that has been brought into Rossendale, has been passed on to local Rossendale-based providers to run the HAF project.”