Club helps youngsters have a happy and hunger-free summer holiday

Youngsters have enjoyed craft sessions at the club during the summer break.
Youngsters have enjoyed craft sessions at the club during the summer break.

Children have had plenty on their plate to keep them occupied this summer thanks to a club which ensures they don’t go hungry - or bored.

Around 50 youngsters are taking part in the Rifty Youth Project’s holiday club, which runs every weekday during the school break.

Mayor Councillor Paul Beck meets a snake at the session during a visit with mayoress and wife Mary, pictured here with children who attend the club.

Mayor Councillor Paul Beck meets a snake at the session during a visit with mayoress and wife Mary, pictured here with children who attend the club.

Its activities are run for free and include crafts and computer games, with animals including a snack and owls brought in for children to learn about during one recent session.

The club is run by Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher and is one of 18 organisations across the town to benefit from the Filling the Gap programme.

Led by Hartlepool Borough Council, the scheme makes sure that children do not go hungry during the holidays.

Coun Akers-Belcher said: “The club is open to any child living in Hartlepool between the ages of six and 17.

This is a great club and clearly children love being here.

Councillor Paul Beck

“We provide a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities and the club is run solely by volunteers.

“The holiday club started three years ago and for the last two years we have received funding from the council which enables us to provide free food for our children.”

Thomas, six, said: “The club is great. I particularly like the ramp for the scooters and bikes and we always get nice food.”

Fourteen-year-old Bradley said: “I like to play pool and we have lots of games. I’ve also made lots of new friends. The barbecue today is fab.”

Mayor Paul Beck and children meet some feathered friends at the Rifty Club session.

Mayor Paul Beck and children meet some feathered friends at the Rifty Club session.

Hartlepool Mayor, Councillor Paul Beck, who chose the Rifty Youth Project as one of his nominated charities, visited the club recently at its base at Rift House Community Building in Masefield Road.

He said: “This is a great club and clearly children love being here.

“Many families throughout the town are feeling the pressure financially so I think it’s tremendous that children are benefitting from free activities and free food.”

Opening times for the club Monday from 11am to 2pm, Tuesday from 5pm to 7pm, Wednesday and Thursday from 10am to 1pm and Friday from 5pm to 7pm.

Mayor Paul Beck and mayoress Mary, back row far left, and members of the club get ready to tuck into food provided by the club.

Mayor Paul Beck and mayoress Mary, back row far left, and members of the club get ready to tuck into food provided by the club.

Any parents who would like more information about the club can call (01429) 280625.

Computer-based activities are also available for children to try out.

Computer-based activities are also available for children to try out.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Hartlepool, Councillor Paul Beck and his wife Mary with members and staff of the club.

The Mayor and Mayoress of Hartlepool, Councillor Paul Beck and his wife Mary with members and staff of the club.