Published 28 September 2023

Thousands of young people across West Dunbartonshire benefited from free summer holiday camps which offered fun activities, learning opportunities and a free lunch.

The Council invested £400,000 over four years as part of the Council’s commitment to supporting communities through the cost of living crisis with a £1m support package introduced as part of the Council’s budget.

The Council invested £100k this year along with £80,212 from the Scottish Government to support new and existing groups to provide a range of activity sessions during the school holidays.  The popular events were attended by 11,000 children, including places for children with additional support needs.

Councillor Clare Steel, with young people and helpers

This year’s programme, with the support from 21 community partners, provided a range of sessions to families, with targeted support to those who needed it most.  

More than 1,500 families attended events at the Golden Friendship Halls and 900 young people attended the Rock Community Church where they also received meals.

More than 1,000 young people participated in events at Haldane Youth Services who offered breakfast and family lunch clubs and BBQs.

Bellsmyre Digital Community held 140 virtual reality and drone building sessions and 216 young people enjoyed a range of arts from paint to clay and performing arts at the Clifftop Project and attendees got to display their work in their own gallery. 

YSort-It offered 300 young people including young carers and care experienced young people a camping trip to Carbeth in Falkirk as well as activity days and brunch club sessions. They also ran a Friday night Youth Café, fishing (Y-Hook It) and streetbike sessions.

YSort-It and young people in a hall

Along with local providers, the Council also supported individual families with young people with an additional support need. Fun and engaging activities were offered to 107 children with 370 day sessions.

The Council received very positive feedback from parents and carers of children who attended the summer programme. Feedback from young people, parents and carers included ‘Thank you for having my son on the Drones course. He has loved every single minute. He's already asking when the next one is.’; ‘I appreciate all your hard work in making all this happen for the kids and being understanding of their individual needs’; ‘My little girl loves coming here and it doesn't matter what's on. Their favourite thing has been getting out of the house and being able to socialise with other people, she isn’t shy when she is here and it feels like home’; ‘My son loved every day of the football camp. He broke his wee heart when it finished today he didn’t want it to end. Massive thanks to the staff involved’.

Councillor Clare Steel, Convener of Educational Services said: “I would like to thank everyone involved in arranging this very successful programme which offered increased learning opportunities and fun activities at no cost to parents. We have built a great partnership with local organisations and through working together we offered a summer of activities and forming friendships. This year we also put on additional free Family Fun Days in the parks which were well attended with 1,000 families attending these events.

“I am particularly pleased to see places offered to support families with children who need additional support. The summer holidays can be an expensive and challenging time for parents and the camps offered young people the opportunity to learn, meet new friends and get a free breakfast and lunch at some activities. It is also very encouraging to see the very positive feedback from parents and carers which shows how popular these activities are to the children and their families.”

Councillor Michelle McGinty, Chair of the Cost of Living Working Group, said: “It’s very encouraging to hear how popular these activities have been and read the great feedback from families.   I would like to thank all the organisations who worked in partnership with the Council in offering fun and engaging programmes and meals over the holidays. The Council has been striving to support residents through the unprecedented cost of living crisis that has impacted so many. We know that many families are struggling with daily living necessities like energy and food costs, meaning that activities or a family holiday would be out of the question.

“I am delighted that the cost of living working group have been able to support struggling families through the tough holiday period by helping them to keep child active and having fun over the summer.”