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Summer Holidays HAF Round-up

This summer we offered nearly 100 days of holiday club climbing for free to local families through the Edsential Holiday Activity Fund (HAF). The scheme, which operates in Cheshire West and Chester and Wirral, funds places for families who access free school meals and those on the SEN register for holiday club provision throughout the regions providing children and young people with a range of exciting physical activities, enriching experiences, and a healthy meal. This our second jam-packed summer offering places under the HAF scheme.

We provide a club with both physical and enriching activities, a healthy meal and nutrition learning, meeting (and often exceeding) the HAF funding requirements and objectives. Our Holiday Club is open throughout all the school holidays, with HAF places offered alongside our regular places during Christmas, Easter, and Summer. Our club is open Mon - Fri and is a full day provision, 9.30am – 4.30pm, and of course we have a strong focus on bouldering! We also engage the groups in arts and crafts, storytelling, team games, and slackline, all washed down with tasty homemade food and snacks from our vegetarian and vegan boulder kitchen.

A typical day starts with getting to know one another and getting to know the centre. Our instructors work in small groups with a maximum of 18 kids and 3 instructors for the day. We can ensure that even those who have never visited our centre before or have never experienced climbing are given all the skills to begin their climbing journey, set personal goals, and meet new friends. Throughout the day we support individuals to reach for their own potential; those with experience can hone technical skills in equal standing with those who are progressing through our simplest of routes. Our instructors support and teach using a variety of games and challenges as well as personalised coaching, all the time encouraging a whole team approach so that everybody in the group supports one another and feel the successes of their peers as much as their own. Time away from the wall includes board games, art, craft, and storytelling. A popular choice this summer has been role-playing tabletop games, with the groups diving into their own character creations.

Not every child who attends the club arrives with experience or confidence; the walls can sometimes feel scary, and we have been delighted to experience individuals growing from nervous to confident climbers, who are now keen to improve their skills at future clubs or through our term-time courses. We have also met some really determined youngsters, who have proven that practice can reap rewards. One young person’s focus to top a yellow route took the entire day (with rest breaks!) The club group spent time supporting and suggesting solutions to the problem in between the day’s other activities. The whole club gathered at the end of the day to support “one last try”, cheers and smiles were abundant when the problem was completed and everybody went home feeling the achievement.

Healthy food and nutrition are a high priority for the HAF scheme, all provisions are required to follow the DfE guidelines on healthy eating and provide an appropriate meal. Here at Climbing Hut all our food is vegetarian and vegan and prepared onsite. This ‘meat-free’ approach offers a great talking point for our holiday club groups who all enjoy their meal together on our platform area. Engaging in discussion about how we can create a nutritious plate of food without meat, why going meat-free regularly can be good for our planet, and looking at how all these options can remain tasty and satisfying. Several of our holiday club children have said they will be requesting a meat-free day at home. We regularly offer the opportunity to try new foods alongside food prep activities from trying dragon fruit or vegan cheese to building fruit kebabs, topping their own pizzas, and creating imaginary meals on paper.


We have thoroughly enjoyed hosting this summer’s cohort of holiday club kids, supporting their skills, and watching them grow in confidence. An exercise in feedback from the kids resulted in some great quotes, showing the positive impact the experience has had for those who attended our summer holiday club.



HAF places will be available during the Christmas holidays, you can check eligibility here: HAF - Edsential. For further information about our club and how to make a booking email: climb@climbinghut.com



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