Roundup: Brighten The Day, Holidays and Food

Roundup: Brighten The Day, Holiday and Food 3

Our summer holiday programme has now come to an end

For the past several years, The Comfrey Project has been hosting a ‘Holidays and Food’ activities programme as part of Gateshead Council’s ‘Brighten The Day’ scheme. Each year we provide fun activities and food for children and their families throughout the school summer holidays.

Participating in this scheme is always a fantastic opportunity for us to support the families of local people seeking asylum and refugees, throughout the school summer holidays. Hosting a holiday activities programme at The Comfrey Project, means that we can help ensure that children and their parents access healthy and nutritious food, as well as a range of fun activities, whilst the schools are closed.


We worked closely with a number of partners this year to deliver an exciting range of activities for our young people

  • Gateshead Family Hubs and the Royal Horticultural Society delivered fun arts and craft and gardening-based activities. These activities included tea-making, scavenger-hunting, plant-pot painting, and more.
  • Meanwhile, Bees Of Bensham introduced our young people to some of the multitude of bees that live in our garden through informative workshops (did you know the UK is home to over 25,000 species of bee?!). Children could look through a special magnifying glass with a UV light to ‘see like a bee’ and discover the patterns on flowers that guide the bees to the flowers’ pollen.
  • North East Young Dads and Lads honed in on the honey bee specifically. The children learnt all about honey bees and sampled some fresh honey. Then, they put on beekeeping suits and went out to have a look at the bee hives in our garden. A young participant told us:


 “I loved seeing the bees, I would be interested in learning more about bee-keeping” 



Addressing holiday hunger

A key component of the Brighten the Day programme is to ensure that children have access to a hot, healthy, nutritious meal whilst schools are closed. Holiday hunger is on the rise for all families due to the cost of living crisis, and this is an issue that is particularly tough for the children of refugees and people seeking asylum, the vast majority of whom ordinarily receive free school meals during term-time. Refugee-owned catering businesses Graze Newcastle and Turkish Food collaborated with us to provide delicious meals for children and their parents each session.


A taste of volunteering

We also created a volunteering opportunity for the older children, to give them a taste of volunteering. They carried out tasks in the garden, supported the younger children with all of the activities taking place, and were an amazing help in the kitchen, helping to prepare and serve food for the shared meal. By getting involved in volunteering, our young people have developed new skills.

In recognition of their achievements, we presented the young volunteers with a certificate and a gift voucher upon the completion of three full sessions of volunteering. Upon receiving her reward, one participant told us that she is going to put her certificate towards achieving the Duke of Edinburgh award. The young people can also use this experience to build up their CVs.


Until next summer…

We are grateful to Gateshead Council for having been involved in this fantastic programme once again, and also for providing bowling vouchers for the children as a surprise treat at the end of the six weeks. We received some lovely feedback from children and their families who came along over the course of the holidays.

Our summer activities programme has now come to an end, with the children returning to school. We wish the best of luck to all children starting back at school, especially those who are starting school in the UK for the first time and children who are moving up from primary into secondary school.