This summer, Reading Voluntary Action held our new programme of ‘Reading Youth Summer Activities’ for three weeks across South, West, Central and East Reading. Our events were aimed at 10 to 14 year olds and were all completely free! We worked in partnership with different organisations to provide young people with activities that they could engage in, learning new skills and having fun along the way.
The events were a huge success, with over 100 different children attending our summer programme. A lot of the children booked on to multiple events: this led to over 350 bookings across all the venues and all the group providers – well over our target! Many parents said that they were glad our events were running, and they had not seen a free programme like this in Reading before. Parents expanded on this, saying their children often become bored as the 6-week holiday goes on, so our sessions provided them with structure to their days and something to enjoy – instead of being stuck at home and online.
Great feedback from young people and parents
Our summer programme of events was split into three different areas: South Reading, West Reading, and Central and East Reading combined. This was so that we could reach as many young people as possible. The people in Whitley especially liked that all our events were free, as there are few activities like this taking place during the summer for no cost. We also provided a free lunch from Crumbs Food Company and this went down well with both children and parents. Many said that they did not expect a free lunch but were pleased they had been given one.
Popular sessions by Reading Refocus
Our most popular sessions were hosted by Reading Refocus, specifically their bicycle repair workshops and their chopper bike ride. Over the three weeks we had 96 bookings for them alone! The repair workshops were the best out of all our events to attract passers-by to join the fun. Even those that did not have a bike came along as they learned from fixing other children’s bikes. This then led to children interacting with each other and working together to fix punctures and loose gears. On the last day of our summer programme the bike repair workshop attracted about 40 children – the highest of any our events. It was great to end on a high!
Getting creative with film and music
At all our events the children were enthusiastic and engaged. At our film-making sessions with Real Time Video in the town centre, the children created a 30-minute film about a monster being let loose around Reading and how we would defeat it! Meanwhile The Rock Academy held a variety of musical sessions. One boy has since signed up to their Band Experience taster sessions, saying he was glad that he had the opportunity with us to try for free.
It wasn’t just the children who got involved, we even had family fitness sessions, family bike repairs and a performance of the children’s dance routines. In all our locations, whether it was inside acting with Lamda Drama, or outside playing football and cricket with Sports Xtra and Kicks, the young people could be seen smiling and enjoying themselves.
We thank you all for coming to our sessions and making them a huge success. Hopefully next year we will see you again!