‘Get into Summer’ to make young people’s mental health and wellbeing a priority
21 June 2021
Children in Scotland welcomes the Scottish Government’s £20million ’Get into Summer’ funding package aimed at creating opportunities for children and young people most impacted by Covid to socialise, play and reconnect over the school holidays.
The fund, which launches today, will provide councils with £15 million and a coalition of 18 national partners an additional up-to £5 million to strengthen existing summer provision and build on services to give children and families the support where they need it most.
The funding, which has cross-party support, comes in direct response to calls from young people to make their mental health and wellbeing a priority in Scotland’s Covid recovery.
Our Policy, Projects and Participation (PPP) department has been working with partners alongside children and young people in the youth panel of the cross-agency Covid Education Recovery Group and in the Strategic Framework Recovery Group. PPP staff have heard directly from them about their learning experiences, priorities and suggestions for change in the medium-to-long term recovery period.
Support over the summer holidays has been articulated as an immediate need by children and young people.
Research has shown the impact of poverty and the pandemic on the mental health and wellbeing of our young people, while examples of our recent project work have shown how sustained services over the holiday period and the positive effects of play might counter some of the adverse effects.
Food, Families, Futures (2015-2020), as an example, was a partnership programme led by Children in Scotland, focussed on food provision over the summer. It had at its core the understanding that services supporting families most in need, also support the mental health and wellbeing of the children and young people within those communities.
Children in Scotland’s Manifesto for the 2021-26 Scottish Government includes a call for investment in services that support mental health and a call to introduce a ‘hobby premium’ to ensure all children and young people in Scotland have free access to a hobby or activity of their choice within or around the school day.
Elaine Kerridge, Policy Manager - Participation & Engagement, says in response to the launch of the Get into Summer fund:
“We are very pleased that our recent project work has supported children and young people to share their experiences of life in the pandemic and their views on the best route to recovery, including how summer activities can support their physical and mental health.”
“Through our Food, Families, Futures project, we heard from children, families, volunteers and practitioners how to establish and run successful summer activities. Click on Food, Families, Futures: Making positive change happen alongside families – A practical resource for strategic leads for helpful tips.”