Salford school holidays scheme wins top award

Scheme run by a Salford-based landlord that has benefited hundreds of children during the school holidays has scooped a top award.
ForHousing and partners receiving their award for the Play Streets project

A scheme run by a Salford-based landlord that has benefited hundreds of children who would otherwise struggle during the school holidays has scooped a top award.

ForHousing’s Play Streets project received the Working in Partnership award at the 2021 Chartered Institute of Housing’s Northern Housing Awards. Designed to address inequalities by supporting families and children in poverty during the school holidays, ForHousing’s activity programme Play Streets provides a range of free activities and free meals in Salford, Knowsley and Oldham.

Play Streets provides 45 hours of engaging, fun activities a week during the school holidays. More than 500 children participated in activities in 2021 along with around 300 in 2020. All of the activities were made possible by ForHousing’s partnerships with 46 organisations.

The programme helps children gain new skills and grow in confidence, with activities ranging from outdoor games and sports to cookery and arts and crafts. Each child also receives food packages for their families.

Following parent feedback and the Marcus Rashford campaign, the project now also offers free packed lunches for children, helping address holiday hunger. The footballer supported the project by retweeting a Twitter post.

The landlord was applauded by the judges for its use of innovation and responsiveness to the challenges of COVID-19. When the pandemic hit last year, ForHousing switched to a digital offering. An official Facebook group delivering virtual sessions was a big success, attracting 500 followers. By working with partners across the community, ForHousing proactively identified those in need of additional support and who otherwise might have been difficult to reach, such as children with parents having to shield, and delivered meals to their homes.

ForHousing partnered with charities including Onwards and Upwards (Salford), Safari Kids (Stockbridge Village) and Community Interest Companies including REEL (Oldham) and Freestyle Urban Soccer (Stockbridge Village). Tenants, local volunteers and the local authority for each area were closely involved every step of the way.

Martyn Hague, director of neighbourhoods at ForHousing said: “We are immensely proud of everyone involved. This award is testament to the hard work of our partners, community groups, volunteers and staff. They have worked tirelessly to make Play Streets a success, engaging young people and helping families who struggle to feed and entertain their kids in the holidays. We’re delighted the project is making such a positive impact.

“It’s all part of delivering our vision of making more things possible for more people. At ForHousing we are dedicated to improving the wellbeing of communities and providing the building blocks to live a better life. We look forward to continuing to deliver Play Streets and are always looking for new ways to improve the programme we offer and welcome feedback from the community.”

The Chartered Institute of Housing’s Northern Housing Awards commend and celebrate creativity and innovation by housing organisations across the North of England and were held in Gateshead on the evening of the 18th November.

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