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Easter HAF Programme

About the Programme 

Following on from the success of our previous Holiday Activities and Food programme in 2023, we have started delivering HAF for a second year. With our first programme we had hoped to engage children and families from the refugee and asylum seeking community. We found that there were many complex barriers for these families in particular to access the programme, so we decided to focus on developing provision for them specifically and tailored our programme to meet their needs. 

Our programme will take place in two sites where refugee and asylum seeking families are living. We have prioritised access and inclusion, created a presence and built relationships with the communities residing at each site. We have worked in collaboration with the Nottingham City Council’s HAF team, Refugee Coordinators from Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum and the company that manages the sites. 

We have taken a hybrid approach to delivering sessions by both meeting families where they are (delivering sessions at residential sites) and enabling them to reach out and explore different spaces by coordinating trips to locations across the city. We hope that this will raise their awareness of local services, confidence in accessing these spaces and create meaningful connections by experiencing; art, history, nature, community and culture across Nottingham. We work with leaders and facilitators at each site we visit, to arrange access, talks, tours and activities.

In our first week of delivery...

We had a fantastic start to the programme with a creative session with an attendance of 26 children and young people. We designed activities that would allow children to introduce themselves to us and to each other across cultural and language barriers. We created self portraits using drawing to share our ‘favorite things’ 

Including films, games, books, places and food. This opened up conversation and grew confidence in the group and allowed them an easy way to get to know each other and share their own stories. 

Next we played a game called ‘rainbow collectors’ - again designed to be accessible across language barriers as the game focuses on using colour and finding objects. Participants were tasked with finding natural objects in the outdoor garden/seating area that matched each colour of the rainbow. We were lucky with good weather and the children loved searching outside and showing us and each other what they found. Following this we returned indoors for a lunch break. We restarted the session aiming to create a giant collective ‘rainbow collage’ - each child could add their finds, drawings and stories to the corresponding colour section on a large paper roll to create a huge image of a rainbow together, that would be displayed on the wall after. 

The second day...

We met the families in the morning and prepared for the day ahead, by making our own sketchbooks to take with us on our trip to Wollaton Hall - our first trip with the group. We had a great turn out with a large group of families coming to meet with us, which exceeded our expectations in terms of engagements and seating, however we were very lucky in that a 50 seater Redfern coach arrived and the driver allowed everyone a seat on board. In total we had 44 people on the coach - including 27 children and young people and their parents and carers.

We arrived at Wollaton Hall with the families around 12:30. Sadly it was raining when we arrived but the families were all in good spirits and understanding of the situation. We found shelter in the covered outdoor picnic area and had lunch before beginning activities. We had arranged to meet with the (Science) Learning and Engagement team from the Museum, who came to meet us after lunch. They explained their Urban Nature Project to the families and detailed activities that they could get involved in including; bug hunting, pond dipping and tree identification around the park. Families were enthusiastic but the rain persisted, some families braved the weather and headed straight to the lake with the Urban Nature team while others explored inside the museum. 

Inside the museum families enjoyed looking at the natural history collection and learning about birds and animals from around the world. This was a great way for families to share stories about animals that they knew from their own countries and talk about the similarities and differences across cultures - towards museums and nature. Then the sun came out and all the families headed down to the lake. They met the Urban Nature Project team there and took part in some pond dipping activities. Children loved playing in the water, collecting samples in nets, examining insects under magnifying glasses and using sweep nets in the long grass. They found lots of new insects and creatures and learned how to identify them. At the end of the day we met back at the coach and traveled home, all parents thanked us for the day out and told us how much their families had enjoyed it, despite the wet weather.

Our second week of delivery...

Our first session was planned using the same introductory activities as the previous week, but this time adapted to work in the new space and without the use of an outside area. 

8 children joined us during the session and made both drawings and foam clay self portraits. This was a small group but the session was valuable as parents joined in with children and we managed to have conversations that helped to build confidence and trust between ourselves and participants. We encouraged the children to share their ideas and celebrated these by making a hanging wall decoration in the communal space and they told each other about their self portrait drawings and models. 

Some participants asked if they could take some crafting materials home with them to keep making after the session and for advice about local classes or clubs where they could learn new creative skills. From this we plan to create a simple resource pack for future sessions including; simple craft materials, maps of the city, promotional materials for local classes and creative sessions, community groups and cafes that they can get involved with, and details of other local services. 

The second day...

We met with the group in the morning and prepared them for the day ahead with details of our visit to Nottingham Castle. Only a small group arrived to meet us with 4 children and 3 adults. This was a small number, however the trip with parents and children together was really effective for enabling them to get to know each other outside of their accommodation. We arrived at the Castle and had lunch in the sun. After the children had some time playing in the adventure play area. The children loved playing here and were excited to show us different things that they had discovered including; a speakerphone, hidden windows and tunnels. They played tag and hide and seek, this allowed them plenty of time to play, be curious and get to know each other.

Afterwards, we met the Learning and Engagement team again who are delivering the Urban Nature Project. The team talked to the families about their activities and then led children and adults together in a bug hunt in the park area. The children were really engaged with this activity and carried on even when it started to rain! They were really proud each time they found an insect and were excited to learn about the names and habitats of creatures they had not seen before. 

We went inside to warm up and the children enjoyed playing and dressing up in knights' armor in the education room and discussing the insects that they had seen outside with a green spider, woodlice and ladybirds being the favorite finds. After this we explored the museum and galleries together where the children and parents enjoyed playing the interactive games together, learning about Nottingham in the middle ages and looking at objects from local history. Children were eager to explore every room in the castle and led us up to the galleries where they enjoyed making drawings of their favorite artworks on display. After this we walked the group home, all tired but very happy after a long day of adventure. Children and parents told us how much they had enjoyed the visit and were keen to meet us again in the summer for more activities. 


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