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#HAF2021 Case Study

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Throughout 2021 Sandwell Cultural Education Partnership has been working with Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council to bring high quality cultural activities and programmes to children and young people who access free school meals as part of the Holidays Activities Fund (HAF) programmes funded by the Department of Education. 

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The year started off in lockdown due to the pandemic but keen to develop an off for children in Sandwell the Arts and Culture group created and delivered a dynamic digital arts festival called 'In the Mix' which offered children and young people the opportunity to engage in a range of activities and workshops to support healthy living through encouraging reflection and action around food choices, nourishment and sustenance. Examples of activities included; live creativity and arts sessions, writing food poetry, a workshop to produce music through kitchen cooking items, food comedy sketch, a workshop to produce artworks using healthy foods, a live young people’s music concert celebrating healthy lifestyles.


The key outcomes included: 


  • Establishment of a partnerships of 17 local culture organisations

  • Creation of a working group of 6 key local creative and cultural organisation that included: Sandwell MBC Youth Services, Sandwell MBC Residential Arts Services, Sandwell Cultural Education Partnership, Black Country Touring (independent arts and arts education company), SHAPE (Sandwell MBC Young Persons strategic engagement initiative), Newave Arts (independent arts development company)

  • Contributions from 30 artist educators

  • Creation of a live broadcast website with associated live social media management capabilities

  • 32 hours of content/films and creative activities, featuring a range of artforms and a diversity of practitioners 

  • 5 hours of planned live workshop sessions

  • The programme artists represented a broad and diverse community

  • Consultation and advocacy was sought from a wide range of community stakeholders and groups 

Sandwell CEP have been integral to the success of the Holiday Activity and Food programme HAF21. It has enabled hundreds of children and young people exposure to creative opportunities that would not generally be available. Their support enabled HAF21 to navigate different delivery models, particularly during lockdown which live streamed a range of fantastic activities into homes across Sandwell and beyond. They are key players in driving forward cultural capital for our younger generation and we are proud to be a part of the growing momentum.

Samantha Harman Play Services Manager / HAF21 Lead Officer SMBC

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Throughout the summer holidays In the Mix delivered an arts festival for young foodies and creative thinkers, combining art and food to encourage the children and young people of Sandwell to take a new approach to exploring healthy eating through arts and cultural activity. 

The workshops took place across Sandwell in various locations such as community centres, the indoor market and local parks. 

Overall the project saw over 1200 moments of engagement through 922 individual participants across all of the arts and cultural activity over a 5 week period (26th July – 26th August). 

The programme allowed participants from ages 3 – 16 from across Sandwell to engage in high quality arts-based activity. Overall they had positive experiences that allowed them to learn and develop new skills it gave young people the opportunity to feel connected to others and to the community. It allowed them the freedom to explore and express themselves in a safe environment and provide a space for creativity developing resilience and confidence ahead of the next academic term.

During the Christmas school holidays Sandwell Cultural Education Partnership programmed a range of Arts and cultural activities around the theme of Winter.

The sessions took place in seven venues across the region including libraries and museums.

The programme was designed with the following aims and objectives in mind:

To allow young people to access different types of arts and cultural opportunities that they may not have experienced before. To use new and different equipment, explore new topics and to develop the ability to respond creatively.

The opportunity to learn new arts-based skills and to work with local facilitators and creatives. To develop social and interpersonal skills providing the young people with an opportunity to make friends and build confidence supporting their mental wellbeing which has been affected though the last 18 months due to covid 19. The programmes was designed to supply high quality art resources, inspiration and materials for children to take home ( and for the packs to be environmentally friendly, avoiding single use plastics).

The project enabled SCEP to work with local libraries across the region and other venues that we hadn’t previously worked in including; 

Local Libraires - Glebefields , Wednesbury , Blackheath , Stonecross and Smethwick Oak House Museum – West Bromwich and The Pavillion - Dartmouth Park. 


“I paid attention to offer a semi-limitless activity. Once the children had realised that they could ‘make a mess’, it was like moths to a flame. Children were using their hands and feet rather than the paintbrushes and mark-making tools dotted around. There was joy in simply placing their feet in trays covered in paint and rubbing colours together in their hands until they made brown. Paint scrapers were provided but not used. Instead, the children preceded to use brushes only to apply the pain to their hands and feet.” 

Kristina Hall  / HAF21 Artist working with children at Bearwood Community Hub Playscheme 

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