Sites were set up in Moss Side, Wythenshawe and East Manchester, where families were able to collect fun activity packs, a healthy lunch and mental wellbeing resources each day of the week.
The initiative was brought to life as an alternative for CITC’s Soccer Schools programme, which was unable to take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Soccer Schools uses the brand of Manchester City to engage participants in open access football, increasing physical activity throughout the school holidays with regular sessions in communities across the city.
Participants are usually provided with free, full day structured coaching sessions as well as free food provision at all sites to help tackle holiday hunger in the most deprived areas of the city.
One parent who accessed the Soccer Schools packages said: “Thank you so much for all of your love and support to east Manchester families. I love my City!”
Others added: “The online sessions were brilliant. My son really enjoyed them and there was a great mix of activities.”
“The food was healthy and nutritious, my son enjoyed them.”
All families were encouraged to sign-up in advance, with any spare support packages donated to local food banks and shelters at the end of each day, to ensure that they could be accessed by families who need them most.
The CITC team teamed up with Manchester Mind, a local mental health charity, to offer additional resources to support participant’s mental wellbeing as part of the packages.
Food For All, Manchester Mind’s food hub, also provided fresh, substantial and locally sourced lunches for children to enjoy.
Jack Gregson from Manchester Mind said: “The pandemic is really hitting young people hard at the moment, and we know that nutritious food is a vital component to good mental health – if you’re not getting enough food, it’s not good for your physical or mental wellbeing.
“We decided to team up with City in the Community to help reach more children in Manchester who might otherwise be struggling over half-term.”
City in the Community’s Community Outreach Manager, Martin Ingham-Griffith, added: “This is the first time we’ve not been able to delivery any physical activity within Soccer Schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"But I’m really proud of how the team were able to adapt and offer such meaningful support to our participants.
“No package went to waste, and it’s been great to see such positive feedback from families across Manchester.”
To support CITC’s initiative during half-term, Bernado Silva joined a call with some participants to hear about how they’d been enjoying the packages and take part in a fun Q&A – keep your eye out for the video over the coming days!