More than 500 families and over 1000 children enjoyed activities in their local area this January and February thanks to a scheme run by Portsmouth City Council using the government's Household Support Fund.

Let’s Play Portsmouth offered a variety of experiences for families with children of all ages, organised by HAF (holiday activities and food) Fun Pompey, local play providers and the council’s Play Youth and Community teams.

All events were funded by the household support fund, so were free for the families to attend.

The sessions were open to anyone living in PO1 – PO6. Each event offered family activities and included a nutritious meal which could be enjoyed without the burden of cost.

Cllr Suzy Horton, Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education, said: “I’m so pleased that so many families took part in these fantastic family days. I was lucky enough to attend some of the events and they were so heart-warming in the cold and grey weather. They also gave a free way to entertain kids whilst getting them off the sofa!

“For some people, it was the first time they visited our community centres, adventure playgrounds and youth clubs, but it won’t be the last! I’m so glad they made some fantastic memories along with new friends in their community.”

HAF Fun Pompey and their providers run activities in the spring, summer, and winter holidays, providing activities and healthy meals to children and young people who receive benefits-related free school meals. The eligibility criteria means that, despite offering pay-as-you-go spaces, the offering is not open to all children in Portsmouth.

Cllr Steve Pitt, Leader of the Council, said: “We wanted to use some of the funding we have from the household support fund to stretch the HAF programme to allow families who haven’t been eligible before to enjoy the range of great activities we can supply.  I hope families enjoyed the activities throughout the city and will continue to access our free adventure playgrounds and youth clubs.”

Bookings for HAF’s spring programme which runs 30 March -12 April are now live, visit pycportsmouth.co.uk/haffunpompey/

You can find out more about adventure playgrounds and youth clubs at pycportsmouth.co.uk