A PROGRAMME of summer activities for children in East Ayrshire with additional support needs is to be extended into a second year.

East Ayrshire Council says it's reached a deal with the Aberlour charity to extend a pilot contract which ran for the first time last year.

The summer holiday programme ran through July 2023 at Hillside School in Cumnock and Willowbank School in Kilmarnock, as well as at Crosshouse Communication Centre.

It employed the local authority's existing workforce to ensure the young people taking part did so in familiar settings and with familiar faces.

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More than  150 children and young people accessed the summer holiday provision, including the additional provision provided at Park School in Kilmarnock by the local authority's Active Schools team. 

East Ayrshire Council says that feedback from parents and carers, and children and young people, was very positive and constructive feedback was also received on what could be improved.

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Suggestions included increasing availability throughout the summer period.

Members of EAC's cabinet agreed to extend the pilot contract with Aberlour into a second year.

Councillor Elaine Cowan, EAC's spokesperson for education, children and young people, said: “The council can now press ahead with plans to expand the ASN holiday support programme for this summer and also look at expanding the programme to the October holidays.

“The decisions taken by cabinet are designed to ensure fair access to provision and to support better outcomes for local families.

"The council will be working with Aberlour and parent representatives to develop the holiday programme."

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Cllr Cowan added: "We have had some extremely positive feedback from parents and carers on the last programme, with some registering their interest in volunteering on the programme this year, which is greatly appreciated.

“It is important to note that any expansion of the summer holiday programme will require further recruitment from outwith the council’s workforce.

"We will work on this with Aberlour to develop a structured approach that can be adopted by any future provider.

"It will also be a good opportunity to understand the extent of potential staff within this sector that may be available over the holiday period.”