The school holidays are a challenging time for children and families. Without school meals, food poverty becomes more of a problem – and families in poverty struggle to find affordable activities to keep children entertained. The long summer holidays has a detrimental impact on poor children and at School-Home Support we’ve been piloting a couple of projects to help ensure vulnerable children can benefit from the time off school.
BlackRock, a School-Home Support (SHS) charity partner, came up with the idea of running an event at the start of the summer holidays for parents and children. They wanted to leave a legacy and ensure that children and parents had:
- information about free activities in London over the holiday period;
- the confidence to be able to explore London and;
- the opportunity to see the offices in BlackRock and talk to them about the wide variety of jobs needed in a city firm.
“Part of the reason I joined BlackRock is because they want to have a social impact, it’s been great to have the opportunity to get involved with School-Home Support, it’s great to be working in place that is socially driven.”
– Antonio (BlackRock graduate volunteer)
BlackRock graduates planned the day, kicking off with an aspiration morning at the offices in Throgmorton Avenue in the City. A group of 16 children and 8 parents were introduced to BlackRock’s business, playing games to understand the concept of supply and demand and learning about the different roles required in a business like BlackRock. Graduates gave families a tour of the building, where they got to meet everyone from traders and security guards to receptionists and analysts.
After a pizza lunch, the group headed out on foot for a visit to the Tower of London and spent a few hours looking round – our organised tour was cancelled due to the particularly high temperatures! That did mean, however, that there were opportunities for ice-creams in some shade and the chance to share stories about what everyone had seen and learned.
“This was a lovely day, I like all of it, I can’t think of my favourite thing because it was all fun. Thank you for the pizzas they were the best!”
– Tianna, aged 8 years
“My favourite bit in the offices was playing the games with the coins, and when we went to the Tower seeing the armour and having the ice-creams.”
– Allyat aged 9 years
The goal of the summer project was to help ensure families feel more confident about exploring London. To help them do just that, one of the volunteers produced a “Passport to London” booklet, listing free local sights and events. Beautifully designed, it encouraged children and their parents to take up the challenge of doing one activity a week. Everything was free, reducing the barriers to access, and the children were set a learning challenge for each activity. “Passport to London” is a resource School-Home Support will want to use again and again.
“This was a really special day, I know parents and children hugely appreciated it, the graduates have done an amazing job organising the day, parents are talking about using their “Passport to London” booklets. It has been so important for these families to have this opportunity. Thank you so much for all your work and for making us all feel so welcome on the day.”
– Marjorie, SHS Practitioner