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Summer Holidays

We have had a busy summer with our Holiday Activities and Food Programme (HAF).

At Ignite! We have designed a unique programme within the overall HAF calendar, recognising that children and families in our communities have a wide range of needs and interests - our programme continues the aims of our ongoing work and focuses on bringing refugee and other local families together to learn, eat, grow and play.

From our experience of working with a variety of families in Nottingham we know that there is a need to deliver a programme that allows parents to stay with their children throughout, for them to be given support and guidance on travel, to be introduced to free and accessible cultural and community services in their local areas and to build relationships with other families.

As the programme takes place over the summer holidays we planned for the majority of our activities to be outdoors and to explore local nature and green spaces as much as possible. These spaces are valuable not only to enjoy the sunshine, but to teach children and families about the nature that surrounds them, what we can learn from it and how we can protect it. It also introduces families to spaces and facilities that they can access safely and freely to enjoy healthy outdoor activities.

We designed our HAF programme with these things in mind and were able to work in three different areas over three weeks of the summer holidays including: Bulwell, Hyson Green and St. Ann’s.

Starting off in Bulwell

We based our activities at the Bulwell Healthy Living Centre, the space has good public transport links, a large indoor space, kitchen and dining area and is within safe walking distance from Bulwell Hall Park. On our first day in Bulwell we aimed to explore the local play park and wildlife that lives there. Throughout the week we led a wide range of activities. beginning with; making homemade binoculars and going on a bird watching walk in the park, collecting observations, drawings and listening to the birds and still life drawing of taxidermy birds on loan from the Wollaton Hall Museum.

The next day we played a ‘treasure hunting’ game around the center finding pond creatures and learning about their habitats. We then had a challenge of creating our own pond dipping nets, we did this using wire coat hangers, tights, tape and bamboo sticks. We made the most of the local park and this time visited the Bulwell Hall Park Lakes - where we use our nets for pond dipping and found a huge amount of different water and land creatures. We documented our find in the afternoon by making zines.

At the end of the week we learned all about map reading and the different tree and wildflower species as we followed the Orienteering trail around the park. To round the week off we took the group to visit Bulwell Forest Garden where together we prepared food, learned about gardening and growing and played games.This was a great end to the week and allowed us to achieve the goal of introducing families to new facilities and natural spaces in their area.

A week in Hyson Green

Our second week of the programme took place in Hyson Green based at the New Arts Exchange. This proved to be a fantastic base for us as the gallery is located right in the center of the community - providing access to the gallery, the local park and Hyson Green Library.

We started the week by exploring the gallery space which at this time was showing the NAE Open - an exhibition of Nottingham based and Global Majority early career artists. We looked around the exhibition and the group documented their observations and responses through drawing and writing. This was a fantastic introduction to the gallery, as only the young people in the group had visited the gallery before. After some trepidation the group felt comfortable in the space and enjoyed looking at and learning about the artist's work.

The next couple of days saw us exploring the local Forest Recreation Ground where we once again went bird watching, tree hunting, flower collecting, completed the orienteering trail and played games. We used materials that we gathered from the park to create Cyanotype prints to record our finds and make our own art works.

At the end of the week we were invited to visit the Hyson Green LIbrary where we were greeted by the staff team who gave us an introduction to the library and its services and provided information on getting library cards and how to use them. The team set up workshop activities for the group including; mask making, rocket making, a treasure hunt, reading books and a great choice of games to play. This allowed the group to feel comfortable accessing their local library and made them aware of all of the facilities available to them there.

Everyone left the library with a goodie bag of games, books and information to take home.

On our final afternoon we were joined by the Nottingham City Council's Adventure Team who led some fun and challenging team working activities that got the whole group involved. These activities worked really well with the group and highlighted relationships that had been made during the week.

Our final week at St Ann’s

For our final week of the Summer programme we were based at St. Ann’s Allotments. Throughout the week we explored the allotment site, mapping the gardens and learning about all of the different plan

ts and animals that live there. We went bug hunting and learned how to identify trees, plants and wildflowers in the Wildflower Meadow. We also got an opportunity for a tour around an award winning allotment site. We got cre

ative and made clay models of the bugs that we had found, made Cyanotype prints using leaves and flowers and used vegetables to make large prints. We spent an afternoon designing and making our own kites and one afternoon making our own rockets for a rocket race in the community center garden.

We explored the local Sycamore Park where the group challenged themselves to pick as many blackberries as they could on the way and think of recipes that they could use them for. We visited the play park and played some team games including; egg and spoon racing, relay racing and of course kite racing.

We finished the week off with a visit to the Community Orchard and took our bug hunting gear with us. The team there welcomed us and had set up a range of activities local families to take part in including; treasure hunting, map reading, slack lining, cooking and whittling. This again was a fantastic opportunity for young people and the parents who joined us to familiarise themselves with a free local facility, where it is safe for children to explore and enjoy themselves in a natural environment, the community orchard also provides lunch for families throughout the summer.


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