We are now well into the summer holidays and we hope you are enjoying yourselves.
We appreciate it can be challenging to find activities to keep children and young people occupied during this time, especially ones which are low cost, are indoors in the wet weather and which are suitable for children with SEND.
We’ve put together a list of service providers to tell you what’s going on in your local area for the remainder of the holidays.
Portsmouth hosts festivals, events, and activities with many being free and accessible. While we can’t list them all here, take a look at the Visit Portsmouth website or by visiting the Portsmouth City Council cost of living hub for low-cost activities and entertainment.
You could also visit the Portsmouth City Museum where there are lots of free and interesting events happening throughout the summer.
The Portsmouth Leisure Card entitles local residents to discounts of up to 50% at Portsmouth City Council facilities as well as other services.
Applying for a Leisure Card is free and available to residents that receive means-tested benefits within the PO1 to PO6 areas of the city.
You can enjoy sports centres, swimming pools, golf, museums, city arts, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Southsea Skatepark, and the Andrew Simpson Centre. Please note that discounts vary. A complete list of providers will be sent to you when you receive your leisure card.
This is not a SEND specific benefit but if you receive means-tested benefits then you may be eligible. Please visit the Leisure Card page on the Local Offer for more information.
Summer 22 July – 27 August
HAF Fun Pompey aims to give children time together over the school holidays to explore what the city has to offer, learn new skills, and enjoy a nutritious meal. The programme provides some fantastic opportunities to book onto a diverse range of activities. These include day camps, sports, family days, theatre trips, along with good, tasty food.
In Portsmouth, HAF have been working closely with activity providers to make sure they are as inclusive and accessible as possible. There are some SEND specific activities on offer, including those delivered by local independent charity, Enable Ability.
Enable Ability were recently recognised for their invaluable offer to the HAF programme by the Department for Education, after they received an outstanding provider award.
Open to all children from 5–16 years old in the PO1-PO6 area, there are free spaces available to those in receipt of benefits related free school meals. Pay as you go spaces are also available for others.
HAF Fun Pompey work closely with Cliffdale Primary School and Redwood Academy to offer bespoke HAF provision for their pupils as well; these bookings are managed internally by the schools.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for any enquiries.
For further details and to book, visit the PYC website.
Eligibility criteria for free spaces
Funded by the Department of Education to support benefits free school meal families, the HAF programme has been rolled out across the country to support lower income families during the school holidays.
Please note, families must have been granted benefits related free school meal status to access a free, funded space.
There are a small percentage of spaces for non free school meal families which are granted on a case by case basis through a professional service referral and is targeted to support the most vulnerable families. SEND needs will be considered as part of the referral evaluation but does not guarantee a funded space.
Summer holidays: Tuesdays 9:00am-10.00am
Under 2s – 18yrs (please note the bounce area is only open to over 5s). Children 5-12 must be supervised by a parent or carer at all times.
More information can be found on the Exploria website.
Saturdays 13:00 – 13:45pm
0.75 – 1.75m depth.
£2.50 per person. Carers do not need to pay.
For a live timetable please visit the app ‘BH Live Active’
Saturdays 14:45-15:30pm For ages 5+
Leisure card price £22.50 monthly – £29.50 monthly with no leisure card
Visit the Gymnastics Centre webpage to enquire
Every Sunday from 9:00am- 10:00am during school holidays and term time.
1 hour in the arena. No music plays and the team are sensitive to the participants differing needs.
For contact details and to book, visit the Flip Out website.
Portchester Parish Hall, Portchester, Fareham, PO16 9PS
Hampshire Sen Den are holding their first mini summer fayre. Children can enjoy all things arts, crafts and play. A variety of stalls and refreshments will be available.
£1 per person to enter
14, 21 and 24 August – 9:30am – 1:30pm
Join Pompey in the Community as part of HAF (Holiday Activities and Food), where children and young people can try out a range of specially adapted sports to accommodate their needs. These include basketball, netball, cricket, rounders, dodgeball, tennis, and archery. Food and refreshments provided.
To book visit: HAF Fun Pompey · Eequ
Every Wednesday during the summer holidays, 12:00 -14:00pm
This workshop will run on Wednesdays from 26 July to 30 August. It’s aimed at children from 7- 16 years of age who are neurodivergent or have additional emotional and mental health needs.
Materials will be provided but you can bring your own if you wish – local artist Andy White will show you how to get the best out of them.
This is free and drop in. For further Information call 023 9268 8057 or email email@example.com
The Andrew Simpson Centre offers a sailing and watersports programme which supports young people living with a learning and/or physical disability. The programme also focuses on young people’s mental health, using sailing and watersports to boost young people’s sense of self-worth and help them manage their emotions.
Aiming High club runs every Sunday from 10am – 1pm and is £5 per session.
Please contact the Andrew Simpson Centres for more information.
Portsmouth Teenage Project is run by Enable Ability and is for young people aged 13-17 years old living in Portsmouth with a physical and/or mild-moderate learning disability, or additional special need.
The project aims to provide young people with the opportunity to engage in a variety of planned recreational, social and sporting activities as part of a group setting.
Access to the scheme is by referral; either by a parent, the young person themselves or a professional – a home visit is then arranged to meet the family and have a chat about the Project and what is on offer.
As well as regular meets, Portsmouth Teenage project run school holiday schemes with activities every day. Trips include visits to Ninja Warriors, Winchester Science Centre, Go Ape and a Sailability experience, to name just a few.
For further details and to register your interest, please email James from Enable Ability at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07857 328390.
“Ryan’s characteristics changed dramatically since starting the project. He is much more confident, sociable and his mood is generally happier in comparison to the previous couple of years. Before the project we were very worried about Ryan being lonely and isolated but the project has expanded his social circle. We would be worried about the long summer holidays as Ryan doesn’t like change in his routine and prefers structure. The Portsmouth Teenage Holiday scheme gives Ryan that structured routine which eases his anxiety dramatically” Mum of Ryan
Since joining the project Luca’s mum can see him having his own life, with close friends and the potential to work with support when he’s older. She can also see him being able to live away from home in assisted living, things that she wouldn’t have considered possible before. She says
“Since joining the project Luca has learnt how to use a mobile phone so he could stay in contact and socialise with other Portsmouth Teenage Project members. He also has more comprehension of using money and bank cards for transactions and can now do this independently.”
Contact: James Donougher
Telephone – office: 023 9267 1846 Mobile: 07857 328390
Come along to one of Portsmouth City Council’s six free, exciting adventure playgrounds and discover a world of opportunity for children.
No two are the same, so if your child enjoys a stimulating environment with loads of play, an adventure playground is for them. They can whizz along zip lines, cool off in splash pools, get messy in sand-pits, show their artistic talents with arts and crafts, build dens, climb trees, dress-up and much more.
The LLD youth group at the Charles Dickens Activity Centre offers its services to young people with a learning difficulty or disability for ages 11 – 25 years of age. Run on Wednesday evenings, during term time and the school holidays, LDD is a drop in youth club where they provide fun, but also a safe environment for all young people with years of experience between the staff team.
They can advise and offer any support they can to the young people that attend, offering a home from home environment for young people to relax and have fun!
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