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Highlights from our Eggs-traordinary 2024 SEND Easter HAF Events

Updated: May 1

Tailored Leisure's first Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme for SEND children, including children with complex disabilities and long term health conditions, over the Easter Holidays has been a resounding success, offering invaluable support and enrichment opportunities to a children that are often overlooked or cannot be fully accommodated in other settings. Through tailored activities and specialised care, the programme has empowered SEND children to explore tactile play through crafts, engage in accessible physical activities, and build meaningful relationships with other children facing similar challenges in a supportive environment. Beyond its educational benefits, our Easter HAF programme has also addressed nutritional needs, ensuring that every child receives nourishing meals that meet their unique needs during the holiday events. By fostering inclusivity and providing vital resources, our Easter HAF programme has made a profound impact on the lives of SEND children and their families, laying a foundation for their continued growth and success.

What is the Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) Programme?

The Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) programme, also named 'Wear Here 4' in Sunderland, is a Department for Education funded programme that is a locally delivered and provides fun, enriching activities and tasty, nutritious meals during school holidays.

Before joining the programme we launched a pilot event on the 19th of February 2024 funded by the Community Lottery Fund in partnership with Everyone Active, and we ran two sessions of our new SEND Atlantis Adventure Mega Inflatable Obstacle course. The two 30 minute sessions were open to 5-25 year-olds, with children aged 5-7 needing to be accompanied by at least one adult in the water, and a nutritious snack afterwards. The turn out was incredible with a wide range of ages and different abilities partaking. The feedback we received was inspiring, with parents telling us how grateful they were to have something SEND specific in their local area. We decided to expand our offer for Easter based on the feedback and recommendations from the parents who attended this pilot.

For more information about HAF programmes in your area, you can find it here.

SEND Atlantis Adventure Mega Inflatable Obstacle Course

On the 4th of April 2024 we held our first official HAF event of the year funded through Together for Children Sunderland. We had excellent turn out with both children and their parents enjoying the aquatic fun. Afterwards we went upstairs to enjoy a hot meal provided by the Free Holiday Meal service. The food was delicious, nutritious and plentiful.

It was also at this event that we introduced our HAF Raffle. Each child who attends is assigned a number and is automatically entered in for a chance to win one of two raffle prizes. Parents, guardians and carers can make a donation towards the raffle - but this is not required. We have designed our raffle this way to give all children who attend an equal chance of winning and every child can also have an opportunity to participate without a monetary barrier.

[Tara left, Nick middle, Artemis right]

Easter Fun

On the 5th of April we held our Easter Fun event, the first of two Easter events in Partnership with Danceversity run the lovely Ashe who has created an inclusive exercise programme for SEND children by incorporating actions, sensory items and modified movements to accommodate and include everyone.

We also ran an Easter Themed Crafting session for children to enjoy at any time throughout the event. We opened it up to run throughout so that children could chose how much they felt able to engage with each activity independently, with dedicated staff in each area ready to support their enjoyment.

After the Danceversity session a healthy meal catered by Splendicious was provided to the children. Specialised meals were ordered and provided for the children who required it.

The children were then invited to participate in open play with sensory toys provided by Danceversity or to engage with the available crafts.

"Our two lucky winners from the Easter Fun 2024 HAF event loved their Easter Craft themes Raffle Prizes. One couldn't even wait to get home to open theirs!

It is that kind of joy that inspires us to create these events for SEND children and young people in our community."

Jane Bray, Project Coordinator

Easter Bonanza

The Easter Bonanza was an incredible experience for the SEND children and young people in attendance. Ashe was back with another session of her inclusive seated dances, which was followed by a silent disco where children worse headphones which controlled the music settings to suit their individual needs.

The craft table featured another array of crafting including a biscuit decorating station in which children made Easter themed biscuits to be eaten at home once dried.

The children were especially excited for our special guest The Face Paint Saint who we met the previous week at the Beacon of Light Independence Day Event with Sunderland Parent Carer Forum 2024 .

Our volunteers were overwhelmed by the quality of The Face Paint Saint's work and knew that they had to meet her.

Taking the intuitive to seek her out, our volunteers knew that they had found someone with not only exceptional skill, but the perfect temperament to work with SEND children.

Their instincts weren't wrong and when she worked with the children at our Easter Bonanza event it was clear by the way she spoke and interacted with the children in a kind, respectful and playful manner that she was a perfect addition to our event.

The children loved getting their faces, arms and legs painted and showed off their beautiful designs to all the new friends they had made that day.

The Paint Saint was even kind enough to stay behind so that staff and volunteers could get the Tailored Leisure Butterfly painted for a beautiful group photograph in celebration of our first round of HAF programmes!

Bouncing into Improvement

Read our Bunny-rific Reviews for our Easter HAF Events!

Easter Eggs-perience

We have taken all the feedback from this round of HAF to develop an even better offer going into summer. They will be longer, with more activities and options for parents and children to enjoy. Posters will be made clearer for parents looking for something to meet their child's specific needs. We will launch a new booking system to help parents sign up for events. We will also be running another round of our HAF Raffle - Summer themed!

What's Next?

We will be running a pilot four hour Accessible Family Fun day during the Summer Half Term Holidays (27/05/2024 - 31/05/2024). There will be crafts, accessible sports and games, healthy snacks and so much more! Keep an eye out on our social media page for upcoming details!

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