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Holiday courses for youngsters near Oswestry and Welshpool seek more funding

By Sue Austin | Oswestry | News | Published:

Young people in towns and villages in the Oswestry and Welshpool areas can enjoy holiday activities this February half term, thanks to the increasing provision from the New Saints FC Foundation.

One of the holiday courses

Sessions will be held in Gobowen, Whittington, Weston Rhyn, Ellesmere and Welshpool.

The community foundation says the idea is to offer a wide variety of activities for sporty and non-sporty children and young people.

Holiday activities coordinator and schools/education coach, Jimmy O'Reilly, said: "It gives children opportunities to be out in the fresh air, be physically active and to meet up with their friends during the holidays.  

"Activities include football, tag ruby, spacehoppers, team building games, arts and crafts, dance and cheerleading."

He said each year the foundation had to seek out funding.

"This year, we will be losing Shropshire Council funding due to the restructuring of its youth provision funding so we are looking for additional funders and sponsors to enable our provision in Gobowen, St Martins and Weston Rhyn to continue," he added.

The free school holiday activities in Gobowen, Weston Rhyn and St Martins have been running for the last four years, starting as just two-hour sessions for the over 10s.

'Well received'

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"Three Parishes Big Local then agreed to match funding to widen out our provision to children aged four to 10 years and we have also had support from Gobowen Youth Opportunity Fund, Selattyn & Gobowen Parish Council, St Martins Parish Council, Par 5 Foundation and STAR Housing," said Mr O'Reilly.

"In 2018, following observations about the difficulties many families faced in providing for their children over the long school holidays, we extended our provision, with the support of funders, to three hours and included a free healthy lunch for all participants - this has been particularly well received."

He said that in 2017 the foundation extended its holiday activity provision into Oswestry, with support from Oswestry Town Council and two years later with a grant from the Mary Hignett Trust extended that provision to three hours, to include a free healthy meal.

Support from Meres and Mosses Housing and Ellesmere Tesco Bags of Help Initiative led to a similar holiday provision in Ellesmere - held at Ellesmere Rangers FC - and again the foundation is looking for help to enable this to continue in 2020.

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"Last year, for the first time, we also offered full day summer and October half term holiday activity provision at The Flash Leisure Centre.  This is a charged provision which we are still looking to build on," he added.

"Finally, last year, we introduced free holiday activity sessions in Whittington, as a result of our work in the village with young people.  Young people attending our weekly youth club sessions wanted to ‘volunteer’ with us to offer younger children in the village a holiday activity club.  This was one of our best attended sessions."

The half term activities for children aged between five to 14 years old, will be: February 17, Gobowen 11am-2pm, Whittington School, 3-4.30pm; 18 and 19, Welshpool, 8am-5pm; 19, St Martins, 11am-2pm; 20, Weston Rhyn, 11am-2pm; 21, Ellesmere, 11am-2pm.

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.

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