Published: Thursday, 22 July 2021

Oxford City council has provided £138,000 of funding to a number of partner agencies to ensure all children and young people (aged 8 - 19) can take part in a range of activities this summer.

Throughout the summer holidays, there are opportunities to build upon existing interests or try new things. From games, trips, outdoor education, swimming and ice skating to cooking, film making, music, dance and arts and crafts, there really is something for everybody.

To help make life easier for parents and carers, all activities in conjunction with the County Council’s holiday food programme will offer healthy and nutritious free food and refreshments, unless otherwise stated by the individual provider.

Facilitated by the Council’s Youth Ambition Grants Programme, the initiative is part of a pledge to make this summer a summer of play.

A national campaign, Summer of Play aims to give all children and young people the space, time, and freedom to get outdoors and get active as the Covid-19 restrictions are eased.

This year’s activities build upon those only offered to young people nominated by their schools to help with close the academic attainment gap for those experiencing greater barriers to success.

Extending the activities programme to be fully inclusive recognises the devastating impact Covid-19 restrictions have had upon the wellbeing of all children and young people in the city.

Spending so much time indoors, inactive and isolated from friends has led to unprecedented increases in mental health problems and loneliness, alongside reduced physical activity, in the 8 – 19 age group. Play and other engaging activities are central to their recovery from the pandemic.

“Covid-19 has had an impact on everyone in our communities in so many ways and studies have found that young people have really struggled with their mental health and wellbeing, particularly those who face disadvantage.

“Play and creative activities are vital for children and young people and are proven to reduce stress and allow youngsters to develop and build relationships, skills and to also have time for themselves. All of this is essential to creating as balanced childhood ensuring wellbeing. More than any other time, youngsters have been facing huge pressure and uncertainty at school and with home life due to the pandemic as have their parents, careers and teachers. The summer activities on offer are fully inclusive and at little or no cost, so every child has the opportunity to join in.”

Councillor Shaista Aziz, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Communities

One of the main goals of the Council’s Youth Ambition Grants Programme is to build capacity in voluntary and community organisations in Oxford. This is because it recognises and values the contribution that they make to children and young people in the city.

This summer, more than 220 full days of activities will be delivered by partner organisations across the city, with several already offering additional sessions during autumn half-term, the Christmas holidays and spring half-term 2022.

Youth Ambition is working with 10 organisations to provide these activities and will still be available to offer informal support to young people through the council’s locality response hubs.

To learn more about the activities on offer and how to and book a free place visit the Youth Ambition website or contact the Youth Ambition Team:

  • By phone: 01865 252728
  • By email:

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