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Summer of Play launches early in west Norfolk with discounts across activities

Summer of Play. Children playing in the Walks play area.

Published: Friday, 25th June 2021

Children and young people in west Norfolk will now be able to take advantage of a number of free and low cost activities.

Alive West Norfolk and the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk have teamed up to pledge support for the Summer of Play. They are also working with Norfolk County Council and Active Norfolk on the Big Norfolk Holiday Fun programme to provide holiday activities and meals to families eligible for means tested free school meals.

Cllr Stuart Dark, MBE, Leader of the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, said: "It is widely known that our children and young people have had a very tough time over the last year and a bit, with the school life disrupted, challenges to social interaction with friends and limited opportunities to get out and play with sports clubs and activities closed.

"By teaming up with Alive West Norfolk and Norfolk County Council, we are able to offer them a wide range of activities that are either low cost or no cost. We have made a conscious decision to go beyond the suggestions of the Summer of Play campaign, which is about promoting our free play opportunities. We have added in low cost opportunities across many activities that enable more families to take part who otherwise might be unable to, and we are starting the programme early and extending concessionary leisure cards to more people to maximise discounts.

"We think it is really important to recognise the impact that Covid has had on our great young people, and this is us doing just that, giving them something that might help them have fun, socialise and be more active."

Neil Gromett, Managing Director of Alive West Norfolk, said: "We already had our summer activities programme set out, but by teaming up with both the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, Norfolk County Council and Active Norfolk, we are able to expand what we are able to offer and reduce the costs even further. There will be fun sessions at just £1, reduced to 50p for those eligible for an Alive Card Concession, and many families will qualify under the Big Norfolk Holiday Fun programme for free activities which include a meal and nutritional advice. We will be accepting bookings for all of our activities from 28 June 2021, with the booking system going live on 25 June 2021. The Big Norfolk Holiday Fun programme begins in July, with bookings being taken from 1 July. We also have our usual holiday clubs which run through the school holiday period and feature a range of activities each day."

Cllr John Fisher, Norfolk County Council Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “We’ve all missed spending time with friends and family over the last year, so this summer is a vital time for us all to reconnect, have some fun and enjoy all that our beautiful county has to offer. Our children and young people have had a tough time as well, and we’re committed to supporting them and their families alongside our partners. These further initiatives announced by West Norfolk offer further brilliant activities and make them accessible to even more families, building on the Big Norfolk Holiday Fun programme taking place across the county. There really is something for everyone!”

James Wild, MP for North West Norfolk, said: “This is a great initiative to provide more opportunities for young people in West Norfolk to enjoy a summer of play. Whether swimming, skating, soft play, or other activities, the benefits of being able to have fun with friends again after such a long period of disruption are considerable.”

In addition to the free and low cost activities and the Alive Holiday Club activities at the Alive West Norfolk venues in Hunstanton, King's Lynn and Downham Market, the council is keen to promote opportunities for free play within its network of play areas across the borough, in its parks and also on the beach in Hunstanton.

Cllr Sam Sandell, Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk Cabinet Member for People and Communities, said: "Across our 550 square miles there are over 80 play areas that we manage that are free and available for young people to enjoy. We also have green open spaces, particularly The Walks in King's Lynn, and the Howdale at Downham Market. Hunstanton features a beautiful beach as well as play areas, The Green and of course the Alive Oasis and Alive Adventures. There are so many opportunities for children and young people to get involved in activities that will help encourage a health lifestyle but also ensure they get to socialise with their friends during the summer break."

Summer of Play is a campaign run by Play England and a host of other organisations and it is encouraging other organisations to take the pledge to enable all children in our communities to have space and time for play this summer. The pledge is made up of three elements:

Fun - We will support children to have fun and express themselves through play.
Friends - We will support children to have opportunities to play with friends and peers.
Freedom - We will support children to have space, time, and opportunities for free play.

Jane Evans of West Norfolk Carers, said she is delighted that the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk and Alive West Norfolk are supporting the Play England Summer of Play initiative.

She added: "We are aware that many of the young carers we support have missed playing out and spending time with their friends during the pandemic. This has had a very negative effect on them, with many of the children becoming even more isolated and depressed.  Outdoor play is fundamentally important for children to develop a sense of self and a relationship with the world around them. We welcome this initiative which will be of advantage to many children and especially young carers, especially as the council has pledged to allow all young carers a concessionary Leisure Card allowing them to take part in activities for as little as 50p, which is wonderful news."

At Alive West Norfolk, the activities on offer include: swimming aged 19 and under, KASET Skatepark aged 6-18, Tumble Teds aged 5 and under, Alive Adventures soft play aged 10 and under, Roller skating aged 3-18. Children under the age of 11 must be supervised by a responsible adult.

Whether opting for the £1 sessions (50p with concession Leisure Card), the holiday clubs, or the Big Norfolk Fun programme for eligible families, booking is essential as places will be offered on a first come, first served basis.

Activities vary in each location. See website for details and booking arrangements, plus information on what to wear and what to bring. Age limits and terms and conditions apply which can be viewed on the website. Booking opens for Summer of Play and Holiday Club activities on 25 June with sessions available from 28 June. For the Big Norfolk Fun programme, booking will open from 1 July.

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