SNP Cllrs Karen Conaghan and Ian Dickson.

By Democrat reporter

Thousands of pupils benefited from summer holiday camps which offered fun activities, learning opportunities and included a free lunch.

The Council invested £100, 000 to help support new and existing groups provide a range of fun classes in West Dunbartonshire for P1 through to S1 during the school holidays.  The popular events were attended by 8094 children, including 300 places for children with additional support needs and 843 adults.

Figures show 33% of children in West Dunbartonshire live in poverty and 27% of pupils receive free school meals.  In addition the number of families using food banks over the summer increased from 576 last year to 775. 

Councillor Karen Conaghan, Convener of Educational Services said: “I visited many camps over the summer and it was great to see families having fun at the classes. I would like to thank everyone involved in arranging the programme which offered increased learning opportunities and fun activities at no cost to parents. The summer holidays can be a challenging time for parents and the summer camps offered young people the opportunity to learn, spend time with their friends and get a free lunch. The uptake of places was very good which shows how popular these activities are to the youngsters and their families.”

Councillor Ian Dickson, Vice Convener of Educational Services, added: “It’s very encouraging to see how popular these classes have been and the great feedback from pupils, families and volunteers.   On the back of the successful summer camps, we plan to engage with more providers to increase the activities on offer to ensure our young people benefit from a range of fun and engaging programmes that suit the needs of our young people and their families.”

The courses were delivered in areas highlighted as having higher levels of deprivation and have been funded by the Council as well as the Pupil Equity Fund and the Scottish Attainment Challenge. The £30,000 leftover from this year’s Summer Camp fund will be used to provide activities during October week and during the Christmas holidays.


Striking up – pipes and drums at the Scottish Championships in Levengrove Park.

Meanwhile, musical pupils across West Dunbartonshire took part in a free programme of piping and drumming during the summer holidays.

The three day pilot programme was delivered by expert instructors from the Scottish Piping Centre and was open to all pupils from Primary 6 to S2.

The camp was attended by 20 pupils who learned how to play the pipes and drums, and also developed their knowledge of their local and national cultural heritage.

Councillor Conaghan said: “West Dunbartonshire has a great association with the pipes and drums through hosting the annual Scottish Pipe Band Championship. This camp is a first for the area and is one of range of free activities available to our young people through our schools over the summer holidays. It’s great to hear that it proved popular and I hope that it will encourage many more of our young people to learn to play a new instrument.”

Councillor Dickson said: “We want to offer as many opportunities to our young people as possible. It’s great to hear this pilot project has been so successful.

“Being able to play the pipes and drums will provide new opportunities for our pupils by helping them to build new friendships and learn a new life skill they can take with them wherever they are in the world.”

The pilot programme was held in the lead up to the Scottish Pipe Band Championships at Levengrove Park and pupils who attended the camp were encouraged to attend the championships to get a sense of what it would be like to play and perform in a pipe band.

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