University summer school programme returns for eighth year

Wed 15 July, 2020
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The University of Bedfordshire and the Level Trust will be launching the SMASH summer school for its eighth year this July.

The Access and Outreach team at the University have organised a summer activity programme in conjunction with the Level Trust for Luton children aged 8 – 12 who are affected by poverty.

Due to the pandemic the Level Trust has made the decision not to offer a face to face intervention. To overcome this, the University and Trust have worked collaboratively to develop a solution which can best fit the needs of the children and families in unusual and challenging circumstances.

This year, the Access and Outreach team and the Level Trust will hand deliver learning and development packs based on the syllabus of ‘The Lion King’ to 200 children living in the town, with 50 more packs reserved by the Level Trust to support emergency referrals over the summer period.

Roisin Kendall, Access and Outreach Manager in the Centre for Academic Partnerships, said: “Children living and experiencing poverty are at a proven disadvantage and COVID-19 has changed the landscape further.

“We know that Luton has seen an increase in Universal Credit applications recently and, due to the financial circumstance of the target families, online learning is not an option for the majority with no access to internet or devices. 

“As an institution which is at the centre of the community, this project demonstrates our commitment to supporting the most vulnerable and in need.”

SMASH aims to give children fun and meaningful tasks to complete over the summer.

The pack will include learning materials based on ‘The Lion King’ and will include a textbook, games, art and craft materials, sports equipment and food parcel for cooking activities at home.

Roisin Kendall continues: “Whilst we recognise this does not replace face-to-face contact, the aim of the pack is to bring fun and learning to a child over the summer who’s family would financially struggle to provide such materials.

“The pack also includes two stamped addressed envelopes which encourages children to take part in a competition and send through four pieces of artwork. The winners will be announced at the end of August and their art will then be displayed by local artist Abi Spendlove in the Mall in Luton town centre.” 

Phyl Rainey, Youth and Children’s Project Manager at the Level Trust, added: “We are thrilled to be working in partnership with the University of Bedfordshire who have created an awesome Lion King themed arts pack for children to get creative with during our free SMASH summer programme

“SMASH gives disadvantaged 8 – 12-year-olds enriching summer holiday experiences and helps to increase confidence, improve social skills and raise aspirations.

“We are going ‘remote’ this year, using a series of activity packs, food parcels, handwritten letters through the post, art displays and competitions to engage children in meaningful activity”.


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