About £138,000 of funding has been provided by Oxford City Council to a number of partner agencies to ensure children and young people can take part in a range of free activities this summer.

Throughout the summer holidays, there are opportunities to build upon existing interests or try new things. From games, trips, outdoor education, swimming and ice skating to cooking, film making, music, dance and arts and crafts, there really is something for everybody.

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To help make life easier for parents and carers, all activities in conjunction with the county council’s holiday food programme will offer healthy and nutritious free food and refreshments, unless otherwise stated by the individual provider.

Facilitated by the Council’s Youth Ambition Grants Programme, the initiative is part of a pledge to make this summer a summer of play.

Spending so much time indoors, inactive and isolated from friends, has led to unprecedented increases in mental health problems and loneliness, alongside reduced physical activity, in the 8-19 age group. Play and other engaging activities are central to their recovery from the pandemic.

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Councillor Shaista Aziz, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Communities, said: “Covid-19 has had an impact on everyone in our communities in so many ways and studies have found that young people have really struggled with their mental health and wellbeing.”