Families across Portsmouth (PO1-PO6) can access free family activities in their local area thanks to a scheme run by Portsmouth City Council using the government's Household Support Fund.

Let’s Play Portsmouth is offering a variety of experiences for families with children of all ages, organised by HAF (holiday activities and food) Fun Pompey and their renowned providers, and funded by the household support fund.

The sessions are free and open to anyone living in PO1 – PO6. People who attend will also receive a free meal, and sessions run from Saturday 20 January until the end of February half term.

Interested people can find out more about the activities and book by visiting eequ.org/pcchouseholdsupport

Let’s Play Portsmouth activities include family dance parties, pottery painting, doodling with Seekers Create, and opportunities to battle it out with board games or with a bow and arrow. There are also forest days where families can build fires and get closer to nature or a carnival-themed fun day at Landport Adventure Playground.

Older children can try out DJing at the council’s music project, RANT, based in the Buckland Youth Activity Centre (BYAC) where they can also learn life skills such as how to cook and first aid.

The 17 fun-filled days will run across the city, including at all six of the council’s adventure playgrounds, and some of their youth clubs and community centres; all of which offer a range of activities and well-being initiatives all year round.

Cllr Suzy Horton, Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education, said: “While it may be grey and cold outside, come and find the warmth that lives in our communities all year round. Maybe you walk past a community centre every day and have never been inside, or you’re looking for a fun, free way to entertain your kids and get them off the sofa. Why not have a great time as a family and make some memories this February. There are so many great places in Portsmouth, so get exploring and let’s play Portsmouth!”

Cllr Steve Pitt, Leader of the City Council, said: “We wanted to use some of the funding we have from the household support fund to stretch the HAF programme to include families who haven’t been eligible before and I hope families enjoy the activities throughout the City.”

Bookings for Let’s Play Portsmouth are free for all and are now live eequ.org/pcchouseholdsupport

Family vouchers available and hardship fund window opens

Lower-income families with children who don’t qualify for a voucher from a school will be able to apply for a voucher when the application-based family voucher scheme re-opens in the coming weeks.  To find out more and register your interest to be notified when the scheme opens, go to www.portsmouth.gov.uk/household-support

As previously reported, [New hardship scheme for cost of living crisis – Portsmouth City Council] the second window for residents to apply for an exceptional hardship fund will be open from 15 January to 2 February. The scheme is aimed at helping residents who are struggling financially and are unable to afford essential daily living costs or an essential household purchase, due to an unmanageable drop in income or increase in household costs.

For more information on both schemes, residents should go to www.portsmouth.gov.uk/household-support

To find cost-of-living advice and help, residents can go to the council’s cost-of-living hub – a one-stop source of local advice and support. It has information on food, housing, energy bills, warm spaces, saving money and wellbeing. The hub is at www.portsmouth.gov.uk/costofliving.  Or if residents need to talk to someone, they can call 023 9284 1047 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Thursday or 9am to 4.30pm Friday.