Sussex will see hundreds of children turning to church-run holiday clubs which operate from parishes across the Diocese of Chichester throughout the holidays.
St Peter’s Church in Selsey’s holiday club is aimed at children who would normally receive free school meals and is in collaboration with Selsey Lions Club and Youth Dream, a charity which provides youth services in the community.
Andrew Wilkes, the Rector of St Peter’s Church Selsey said: “It is so important for the parish church to be involved in this.
"We hope by providing meals and fun activities, in a safe and secure environment, will mean one less thing for parents and carers to worry about.
"After all, lending a helping hand to our neighbours is at the very heart of what it means to be a Christian.”
At St Richard’s Church in Hollingdean, Brighton, a summer club will be operating for the first time in partnership with a Council Program called HAF (Holiday Activities & Food).
Maleni Simarro a church community pastor said: “Working in partnership with the local authority and other organisations is our first step to connecting with schools and getting to know the needs of the community.
“The holiday club programme provides a hot meal and daily activities that involve fitness and learning about healthy eating, plus other fun workshops. It is free to any child on free school meals.
The Chanctonbury group of churches are based in rural Sussex near Storrington. They are running their first ever children’s holiday club this summer.
Children will be offered fun packed, thrilling adventures including a “travelling through time” programme with “Potty Professors”.
Nick Taylor is head of Kids Community at Chanctonbury churches. He explained the heart behind the club:
“We wanted to offer another connection point between the church and our local community, hosting a space that we can get to know families and children and tell them about Jesus in an approachable and loving and relevant way.
"We see this as a springboard to journey with these families more in the next year or so as we invite them to engage with us more and more after this first contact.
"Some of our church values are ‘people are precious’ and ‘heaven is here’ - we want to love people extravagantly like Jesus did, and reveal to them that heaven is indeed here and accessible to us all, whoever we are!”