Skip to main content
Search

Useful resources and information for the school holidays

We know that times continue to be extremely hard, the pandemic has put a strain on many families and residents within west Cheshire, and beyond.

There is a wide range of support available to you as parents across the borough which can help you if you feel that you may need it.

The Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) Programme, funded by the Department for Education (DFE), helps children across the country to access healthy food and take part in fun activities over the school holidays.

In west Cheshire there will be a range of activity clubs on offer across the borough organised by our local partners.

Edsential

Community interest company, Edsential, is working with over 25 organisations, including schools, community, voluntary and faith sector organisations, to organise over 49 holiday activity clubs throughout the borough this Easter period. The holiday clubs will provide local children and families with:

  • healthy meals and snacks, along with family cooking sessions
  • a variety of directly delivered physical activities, such as yoga, skateboarding, dance, inflatable play, and judo, making the most of our outdoor spaces
  • diverse enrichment activities, including arts and crafts, hairdressing, forest school, teddy bear picnics and much more.

Visit the Edsential website for a full list of the clubs taking place over the Easter holidays:

  • Edsential

Youth zones for 11-16 year olds (up to 25 if SEND)

Youth zones, operated by the Council’s Youth Service, will be providing eligible children and young people across the borough with an Easter offer:

  • Family Fun Day
  • Ministry of Food – a two-week evening programme that explores food from around the world.
  • HAF Fun Days – a two-week daytime programme that promotes four sessions, to include two days out and two fun days which include sports, competitions, arts and craft, pamper sessions and includes a hot lunch or dinner.

If you would like more information, please email: EHPChesterandRural@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

Provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

A number organisations have been funded to deliver SEND specific HAF provision across the borough of Cheshire West and Chester, the varied offer will include sessions for children and young people such as soft play and sensory room, lending library, music and movement, trampoline sessions, forest school activities including an easter egg hunt, story time with marshmallow toasting around a camp fire, cycling provision, mindfulness, yoga, arts and crafts, also included will be outdoor activities at a number of these venues. Food will be provided at every session for the children and young people in attendance.

For more information, please email: AimingHighForDisabledChildren@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

The Council is working with other agencies to support residents and businesses in west Cheshire. The pages cover:

  • Dedicated helpline for people who need support
  • Clinically Extremely Vulnerable - shielding guidance
  • Support and advice on council tax
  • Domestic abuse advice and support
  • Support for businesses and employers
  • Coping with coronavirus
  • NHS bereavement advice and support
  • Test and Trace support payment

How to get help

If you need help with food shopping or are looking for details about other practical support available in your local area, visit Live Well Cheshire West.

Live Well Cheshire West

Funding from the Household Support Fund has been provided to local schools to be used over the school holidays to help families who have children that receive benefit related free school meals. If you need support, please contact your child’s school for further information or the HELP scheme.

The Council is also providing support through an additional £500k Winter Poverty Fund and is doing everything it can to support our residents who are currently struggling to get by.

This cash support is available to help residents with essentials including food, energy and water bills.

Funds will be available to other households in need of support, who will be able to access it through some of our community sector organisations including Welcome Network CWVA (Cheshire West Voluntary Action), Citizen Advice Bureau, Age UK Cheshire, Dial Network, Carers Trust, CHAWREC (Cheshire, Halton and Warrington race and equality centre) and WHAG (Women’s Housing Action Group).

These partner organisations undertake critical work throughout the borough and are best placed to ensure the funding is available to as many residents as possible.

For those who have children receiving free school meals, access to funding will be through schools. Other residents who need support can contact the organisations directly.

Funding from the Household Support Fund has been provided to local schools to be used over the school holidays to help families who have children that receive benefit related free school meals. If you need support, please contact your child’s school for further information or the HELP scheme.

The Welcome Network

The Welcome Network has pulled together details of the food and activity offers for families during half-term breaks, including Foodbank distribution points. All of the information can be found on a live, interactive map on the Welcome Network website.

The Welcome Network

Those delivering food support who aren’t currently on the live, interactive map are encouraged to add their details so people needing food support in their area can access their services.

The Welcome Network - Get involved

If you're having difficulty contacting any of the groups, or if there isn't something suitable or local to you please email: hello@welcomenet.co.uk and one of the team will link you to the support you need.

The HELP scheme is a discretionary scheme offering local welfare assistance including:

  • support for exceptional needs
  • limited payments for emergency funding in a crisis or;
  • to help people moving out of care

Any awards which are made are conditional. With you accepting any support from us that we consider you need. All awards are subject to a means test, which means we will look at your income and expenditure. This includes income that is available to you, including income we usually ignore when looking at your claim for Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction.

Funding will be made on a one-off basis and will be restricted to one award in any 12 month period. Normally awards will be restricted to provide help with food vouchers or recycled goods.

The HELP Scheme has been awarded additional monies by DWP in the form of the Household Support Fund, to support those most in need this winter.

It will primarily be used to support households in the most need with food, energy, and water bills. It can also be used to support households with other essential costs. This may and can include households not currently in receipt of DWP welfare benefits.

Only one award can be made per household and applications are made via the HELP phone lines.

Help in Emergencies for Local People (HELP)

If you are unable to buy food, then food aid is available from the Foodbank.

The most important step is to get a foodbank referral. You will need to get a referral by telephoning or emailing someone who can do this for you.

If you cannot get out to collect your food, then please mention this to the person making your referral for you and they will make the arrangements for food to be delivered if this is at all possible.

If you have no food and cannot contact a referrer, please call the West Cheshire Foodbank office.

Covering Mid-Cheshire (South of M56) includes Winsford, Knutsford, Northwich and surrounding villages.

If you are unable to buy food, then food aid is available from the Foodbank.

The most important step is to get a foodbank voucher.

In order to provide the most appropriate help for the circumstances of your situation, Mid Cheshire Foodbank work with local agencies. If they feel you are struggling to put food on the table, they will issue you with a foodbank voucher. The local agency can also provide long term support if needed to help address some of the issues behind the reasons for your crisis. Agencies the foodbank work with include: Citizens Advice, housing support officers, children’s centres, health visitors, social services and some local charities.

Get in touch with the foodbank via phone or email and they can talk through your situation and put you in touch with a relevant local agency to obtain a voucher. Once you are in touch with a local agency, they will discuss your situation and supply you with a foodbank voucher where appropriate.

If you are unable to buy food, then food aid is available from the Foodbank.

The most important step is to get a foodbank voucher.

In order to provide the most appropriate help for the circumstances of your situation, Mid Cheshire Foodbank work with local agencies. If they feel you are struggling to put food on the table, they will issue you with a foodbank voucher. The local agency can also provide long term support if needed to help address some of the issues behind the reasons for your crisis. Agencies the foodbank work with include: Citizens Advice, housing support officers, children’s centres, health visitors, social services and some local charities.

Get in touch with the foodbank via phone or email and they can talk through your situation and put you in touch with a relevant local agency to obtain a voucher. Once you are in touch with a local agency, they will discuss your situation and supply you with a foodbank voucher where appropriate.

Payments of £500 can be made when somebody who is working loses pay because they are told to isolate when they have COVID-19 symptoms or they have been in contact with somebody with symptoms and are told to isolate by test and trace. From 8 March 2021 parents who are unable to work from home can also apply if their child is required to isolate and they have caring responsibilities.

The Council Tax Reduction Scheme provides financial support for people who are on a low income and need help to pay their Council Tax. There is a discretionary fund alongside the main scheme.

The Discretionary Housing Payment scheme is available to help people who receive Universal Credit or Housing Benefit where the amount awarded in benefits does not pay their full rent. This scheme can help with the shortfall in some circumstances or can help people on benefits with rent in advance to secure a property.

Homeless2Housed is a short-term project providing support for people who are at risk of losing their home or who are unable to secure a property. The Homeless2Housed team can sometimes help with rent arrears and rent in advance. Contact them initially by emailing: H2H@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

If you are affected by coronavirus or its effect on the economy, there is a wide range of support available.

The Understanding Universal Credit website provides information about the changes the government has brought in to support people who are already claiming benefits, need to claim benefits, or are at risk of losing their job as a result of coronavirus. To find information you need about Universal Credit and other benefits:

Universal Credit (UC) - If you have any queries please use your UC journal to make contact, if you have a change in circumstances please report this on your home page. If you are unable to access your digital account, please contact 0800 328 5644. There may be a longer waiting time than usual on the telephony service as they are experiencing high call levels.

Legacy benefits - If you claim Job seekers Allowance (JSA), Income Support (IS) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) please contact your relevant benefit on 0800 169 0310 if you have any queries. Please listen carefully as the options may have changed since you last rang.

You can contact your local jobcentre by ringing 0800 169 0190 and you will be put through to/or a message passed to your local jobcentre. Jobcentres are limiting the number of people allowed in the offices during COVID-19 so please only attend a jobcentre if you have a booked face to face appointment or have no other way of contacting Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Local jobcentres can support with both ensuring you receive the correct benefit to support you whilst you are looking for work and if your circumstances mean you are currently unable to look for work. They can provide advice and sign posting to local support organisations. They work closely with both partners and providers to offer a range of training that is relevant to the local economy and is most likely to enable customers to gain skills to return to work.

The website highlights the range of support and advice on offer to help jobseekers find jobs, and employers get the people they need, all in one place.

Jobhelp is a good place to start if you are looking for work. Despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, there are still jobs out there to apply to. Jobhelp are there to help you get started.

Their website provides a range of support.

You can also find hints and tips on applying for jobs and ideas about jobs you may never have thought of. And for the latest vacancies, check the latest jobs page or search the Find a job (external website) service.

The Live Well Cheshire West site provides support for a range of different money related matters, including:

  • Budgeting, banking and managing money
  • Money and benefits
  • Paying for care
  • Grants and funds
  • Debt
  • Help in a crisis

Live Well Cheshire West

Free, impartial advice and information on a range of issues. Advice is independent and completely confidential. Information to help you make the right choices if you are in debt. Such as how to avoid losing your home and how to get your finances back into shape. Help can include:

  • working out how much money you owe and the debts you should pay back first
  • budgeting your bills
  • getting a bank account
  • starting a pension
  • dealing with creditors
  • gambling advice and/or problems with tax

The Citizens Advice Bureau has also received £25,000 from the Winter Grant Scheme fund to cover payments made through their Fuelbank.

For further information:

Some children and adults could be facing increased risks as we are all asked to stay at home more due to COVID-19. We are here to help you. It is important you know you're not alone. The Council is continuing to work with other agencies to offer you support and encourage you to make contact when out on an essential trip (like shopping) to ask for help.

Open the Door signposts to local and national help, encouraging people to start a conversation about domestic abuse and bring it out from behind closed doors.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger call 999.

The Live Well website provides various resources about supporting children and young people during the lockdown including a section on mental health and wellbeing.

Live Well Cheshire West

Anyone struggling with their mental health can call the Cheshire West Mental Health Crisis Helpline on: 0800 145 6485. This is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for adults, children and young people.

The Winter Mini Challenge for children is starting again from 1 December. This encourages children to keep up their reading habits over the winter holidays, with a free-to-access website featuring rewards for reading and reviewing books.

To take part in the Winter Mini Challenge, children read three or more books - these can be any books of their choice. Every time they finish a book, they add it to their Challenge website profile and leave a short book review.

Reaching their online reading goal will unlock a limited-edition virtual badge and a special Winter Mini Challenge certificate to print off and keep.

Winter Mini Challenge 2021

For all Christmas activities please contact the individual library to check availability, as most sessions are booking only - go to our Find a library page for contact details.

  • Until Thursday 23 December
    All day
    Hope farm
    Mischievous elf on the library shelf
    Running for three weeks up to 23 December. The elf will be doing something mischievous each week for the children, who are signed up, to come in, find him and let us know what he is up to. If they manage all three weeks the elf will be leaving them a thank you gift.
  • Monday 13 December
    10.30am and 11.30am
    Little Sutton
    Father Christmas Rhymetime
    Father Christmas Rhymetime
  • Monday 13 December 11.30am until 12.30pm
    Ellesmere Port
    Adult Christmas Crafts
    Christmas wreath book craft
  • Tuesday 14 December
    10am until 12noon
    Great Boughton
    Wreath Making Wreath making, £10pp plus refreshments. Materials provided but everyone encouraged to bring their own resources too
  • Tuesday 14 December
    3.30pm onwards
    Tarvin
    Children's crafts
    Christmas Decorations for your tree and home
  • Tuesday 14 December
    5.30pm until 6.30pm
    Sandiway
    Adult Christmas Crafts
    Plastic-free decorations
  • Wednesday 15 December
    3.45pm until 4.45pm
    Neston Dogs Trust
    Festive awareness session for families about owning a dog as pet - especially getting a dog for Christmas
  • Wednesday 15 December
    2pm until 3pm
    Upton
    Adult Christmas Crafts
    Macrame Christmas Decorations
  • Thursday 16 December
    10.30am until 11am
    Wharton
    Christmas Baby Bounce
    Festive fun for the little ones
  • Friday 17 December
    2.15pm until 2.45pm
    Upton
    Christmas Storytime
    Join us for a festive storytime
  • Saturday 18 December
    10am until 10.30am and 10.45am until 11.15am
    Neston
    Children's Christmas Crafts
    Christmas Decorations for your tree and home. Two sessions to accommodate numbers. Booking is essential.
  • Saturday 18 December
    10.30am until 11am and 11.30am until 12noon
    Frodsham
    Children's Christmas Crafts
    Two sessions to accommodate numbers. Booking is essential.
  • Saturday 18 December
    10.30am until 11.30am
    Helsby
    Children's Christmas Crafts
    Christmas Decorations for your tree and home
  • Saturday 18 December
    10.30am until 12noon
    Lache
    Children's Christmas Crafts
    Make your own calendar
  • Saturday 18 December
    10.30am until 11.30am
    Sandiway
    Children's Christmas Crafts
    Christmas Decorations for your tree and home
  • Saturday 18 December
    11am until 12noon
    Little Sutton
    Cupcake Decoration
    Christmas Decorations for your tree and home
  • Monday 20 December
    10.30am until 12.30pm
    Little Sutton
    Christmas Rocks
    Decorating stones
  • Monday 20 December
    2.30pm until 3.15pm
    Great Boughton
    Children's Christmas Crafts
    Christmas Decorations for your tree and home
  • Monday 20 December
    6pm until 6.30pm
    Winsford
    Bedtime Storytime
    Stories and rhymes by the light of the Christmas tree. Come wearing your pyjamas!
  • Tuesday 21 December
    10.30am until 11.30am
    Hope Farm
    Children’s Christmas Crafts
    Christmas Decorations for your tree and home
  • Tuesday 21 December
    10.30am until 11am
    Wharton
    Christmas Storytime
    Join us for some festive stories
  • Tuesday 21 December
    2pm until 3pm
    Winsford
    Children’s Christmas Crafts
    Christmas Decorations for your tree and home
  • Tuesday 21 December
    5.30pm until 6.30pm
    Sandiway
    Adult Christmas Crafts
    Christmas craft space - bring your own projects to finish
  • Tuesday 21 December
    2pm until 4pm
    Little Sutton
    Christmas Rocks
    Festive decorative stones for all the family to create
  • Wednesday 22 December
    10.30am
    Ellesmere Port
    Children's Christmas Crafts
    Christmas decorations using lollipops
  • Thursday 23 December
    2pm until 4pm
    Frodsham
    Stories with Mrs Claus and Crafts Crafts for all ages plus stories staggered throughout the session. Free gift given to each child. Booking essential.
Terms and conditions Privacy policy Cookies Contact