Free autumn activities for children thanks to Hastings Opportunity Area programme

The Source Park ran pop-up BMX sessions
The Source Park ran pop-up BMX sessions

Following a busy summer which saw hundreds of free activities made available to children and young people, the Hastings Opportunity Area (HOA) is announcing its plans for the new academic year.

The HOA’s £75,000 summer programme included more than 20 sessions with Kicks Free Football by Brighton & Hove Albion’s Albion in the Community, Go Wild’s Outdoor Forest School, the GAP Project’s drumming, woodwork, ceramics, arts and bike workshops, Active Hastings’ Fitness Rave on the Pier, and Sensory Soft Play.

One of the summer sessions was run by Source Park, which brought its pop-up BMX ramps to 10 communities in town, along with bikes, helmets and expert coaches to give children their first taste of riding. Source is also running sessions after school and on weekends from October as part of the HOA’s Autumn Activities Programme.

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In addition to Source, the HOA is running a number of sports activities including Kicks Free Football, Active Hastings’ weekly multi-sports sessions ‘Street Sports’ and ‘Street Bite’, and ‘Team4Life’ taking place every Wednesday at The Firs.

For children who like arts and crafts, the GAP Project is running a variety of workshops, and Eggtooth is launching ‘Incubate Visual Arts’ where 12 to 16 year olds are trained by leading local artists before exhibiting their work in June 2020.

Young performers also have a lot to choose from with Gizmo running three weekly sessions in St Leonards and the ROAR programme of drama, film and music launching in November; a collaboration between Eggtooth and Proact.

Following an inspiring series of workshops earlier this year, which saw secondary students from Hastings and St Leonards choreograph and perform their own dance performance, Hofesh Shechter are due to return in November with their highly acclaimed and innovative programme.

Graham Peters, chairman of the HOA’s Broadening Horizons Working Group, said: “We were thrilled to see so many children, young people and families benefiting from the activities which so many fantastic organisations worked hard to provide over the summer.

“We are delighted that we are able to fund so many more free activities in schools and communities this academic year, kicking off with the Autumn Term Time Activities.”

For full listings and to sign up, visit https://hastingsopportunityarea.co.uk/2019/09/16/free-activities-this-term/.

The Hastings Opportunity Area is a three-year programme funded by the Department of Education and delivered by a local team, to support a wide range of projects to improve social mobility for children and young people in Hastings and St Leonards. The HOA focuses on a number of different areas including maths, literacy, mental health, enrichment activities, careers, young ambassadors and attendance.

Richard Meddings, chairman of the HOA’s board, said: “Hastings is an extraordinary town with so much on offer.

“It’s our continued priority to ensure that all children and young people who live in Hastings have the opportunity to realise their potential academically and in later life.

“We are delighted that so many schools and organisations across the town are actively engaged in the programme; whether through training staff, implementing new programmes or delivering enrichment activities.

“We are looking forward to continuing our work over the next year, with schools, colleges, local organisations, parents, carers and young people themselves to ensure that the programme reaches all those children and young people who would benefit from it.”

For more information about what the Hastings Opportunity Area is doing in your school or area, or how to access activities and services, visit https://hastingsopportunityarea.co.uk/ or find it on Facebook.