The Healthy Holidays and Food programme, popularly known as HAF is a well-used programme of half term holiday activities primarily aimed at children who are on Free School Meals. This was Brightbox’s second year for HAF delivery in Barnsley. We had a fantastic group of children between the ages of 10 -14 who were all keen participants. Some of the days were held at the Makerlab at the Digital Media Centre where children stitched tote bags and then designed motifs printed on them with a textile printer. The results were stunning and the children truly impressed us with their skills.

The second venue for our HAF days was at the Carer's Garden. This is a community allotment with all the charms of a nature space but conveniently tucked away in the heart of the town and accessed via Barnsley Metrodome carpark. During these sessions the children played outside in the allotment and created designs inspired by this on Procreate. However, these sessions were totally transformed by the presence of a student intern from Hallam University who was also a foreign student from China doing an Education degree in primary school teaching. The best way to describe our intern would be to say the softest and friendliest of people who instantly became a friend for all the children!

After many games and chatty conversations, the children all decided to show our intern how they celebrate Easter here in England. One of the young people 'tricked' our intern into taking her for a toilet break while the others secretly prepared an easter egg hunt in the garden and laid out Easter hats and even put Chinese music on their phone playlist. It was so touching to see how the children really valued having her around and wanted to include her in the experience of a new culture and making her feel welcome. Our intern was so touched that on the last day she even shed a few tears and we all had a lump in our throats seeing all this. We saw how very open the young people were to be learning from people from other cultures. In a world often torn with strife because of differences, here we were presented, quite unexpectedly, with such a wholehearted enthusiasm for someone from literally the other side of the planet. For that afternoon on the beautiful allotment, the world seemed in perfect harmony. We felt proud of these young people and hope their spirit is nurtured as they come of age in Barnsley town.

Book your place for our January Healthy Hoidays (HAF) HERE!