Funding for children's summer activities welcomed
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Funding worth more than £500,000 for the north-east from the Scottish Government to encourage children to play and socialise as part of the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic has been hailed by Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin.
Local authorities from across Scotland will receive a share of £15 million to support summer activities that are already in place in certain areas.
The funds will specifically target those aged up to 25 from low income households who may otherwise struggle to access such experiences during the holidays.
And £5 million will also be distributed among prominent Scottish children’s charities such as Barnardo’s and Who Cares Scotland.
Aberdeenshire will receive £562,000 while Aberdeen City will be given £418,000.
Ms Martin said: “I am absolutely delighted at this investment in Aberdeenshire’s children and young people, who have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic as they have not been able to meet up with friends or play the sports they love.
“Coming out of the pandemic young people have told us that their mental health will be a priority and the Scottish Government has listened to them and is investing in summer activities.
“This will have a positive impact on the mental and physical wellbeing of our young people, which will be extremely important when coming out of lockdown and into recovery.”
The cross-agency Covid Education Recovery Group recommended that the summer programme focus on the wellbeing of children and young people.
A Scottish Government campaign is set to launch to help partners and local authorities promote the opportunities available to children and young people in their local area.
Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “Scotland’s children and young people have experienced significant disruption to all aspects of their lives as a result of Covid-19, including their wellbeing; education and social connections.
"They have told us that their mental health was a primary concern as a result of the pandemic and that they need a range of activity to help them reconnect with their peers and friends.
“We have listened and taken action. The £20 million of funding will support children, young people, their families and carers to enjoy the summer.
"Through our partners – local authorities as well as our national organisations – the summer activity will focus on mental health and well-being of our children and young people whose lives have been impacted by Covid.”