A £5,000 grant from North East based North Group has supported three locally trusted organisations (LTOs) to deliver vital holiday provision to young people across Newcastle during the October half term as well as weekly activity sessions in the run up to Christmas.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit young people growing up in poverty in the region especially hard. Food insecurity and reduced access to the normal structures provided by school during the first lockdown resulted in young people being less active, experiencing poor mental health, feeling socially isolated and generally worried for their future.

LTOs responded at speed to address the issues faced by young people and their communities, accruing additional costs in the process. StreetGames has been supporting organisations to ‘return to play’, providing training, support and funding to LTOs to deliver vital Doorstep Sport in partnership with companies like North Group.

PLAYinNEWCASTLE, Bilton Hall Community Trust and Sporting Chance North East received funding from North Group to deliver sessions in the October half term where young people on free school meals could get active and have lunch. In addition, the funds will support organisations to run adapted services in line with restrictions between half-term and Christmas.

Over October half term, North Group were able to visit Play in Newcastle to see the difference their funding has made first hand.

Kim Rogerson, Senior Executive (Communications), North Group, said:

“It was great to spend the morning with the team from StreetGames and Play in Newcastle to see first-hand the impact they have on young people’s lives in the region, both in terms of physical activity and the provision of healthy meals.”

Michelle Mitchell from PLAYinNEWCASTLE, said:

“Without the funding from North Group these sessions would not be able to go ahead and the young people would not have had the opportunities they were taking part in. The three objectives of the young people staying active, socialising and getting fed was met 100%.

They learned many new skills with the help from PLAYinNEWCASTLE staff, AJ Fitness and of the course from the assistance of the North team.”

Joanna Tuck from Bilton Hall Community Trust, said:

“During the holiday period we saw over 40 young people join us for activities thanks to the support from North Group and StreetGames.

We held a sport camp three days and supplied food to the young people attending sports sessions. On the Wednesday the weather stayed nice enough so we attended a local park and historic ruins. This was such a breath of fresh air to be visiting as a group and the kids having some form of normal under the circumstance.

Friday was a visit to TeamSports on Scotswood. With the older group of youth enjoying a competitive race track day and finished off with pizza.”

Without this support from both organisations the holiday term would have been bleak and much less engaging for our local children. Our objectives were to have fun, make sure those that needed fed, were and to promote positive engagement in all age groups. “