Easter turns the family centre into a complete jungle

The Centre’s family services has been turned into a jungle as they’ve welcomed up to 60 children a day for the Easter Holiday Programme.

For all of the past week the area of the Centre usually used as a nursery to provide free childcare to 2-3 year-olds has been decorated with a jungle theme. This is all part of the Easter Holiday Programme, the first of new school holiday service for 4-11 year-olds funded by Children in Need.

Children and parents have been enjoying a wide variety of activities including football, face painting and limbo! The programme also provides lunch for children and parents.

“I’ve cooked more pasta today than I’ve seen in my lifetime”, said Jan Cleaver, family services manager at the Cardinal Hume Centre. Jan seemed exhausted after a week of looking after 60 energetic children a day, but she said the programme had been very successful.

“It’s about them not being in front of a TV and more importantly communicating with each other. It’s just good to get them out of their houses, which unfortunately can often be very overcrowded.”

The Thursday finale was a jungle show and an Easter egg hunt (thanks to St Thomas More School for the eggs!), which resulted in some great pictures. View the picture list for larger images.

As well as giving the children a safe place to burn off their energy, the programme also has measurable objectives. These are focused on improving the relationships and communication between family members and children.

Huda and Batool are two mothers who have been at the programme all week. They both said how much they and their children have enjoyed it. Batool has four children using the programme, aged 2, 7, 10 and 11: “I heard about it through a friend. It’s very well organised. I like the split activities for different ages so I can bring everyone.”

Huda was very impressed with how much her children were socialising, she was also happy to have made a new friend in Batool.

“Some places were we go the kids don’t feel confident”, said Huda. “But here they feel very safe. It’s a great space and a really nice environment.”

The Easter Holiday Programme has been a great success and we hope to run similar programmes for even longer in the future. Please help support all of the varied Family Services the Cardinal Hume Centre provides.