Charity spotlight: Breakaway Playschemes

PUBLISHED: 14:14 14 September 2018

The holiday playschemes run for 34 days each year encouraging social skills and giving parents and carers respite

The holiday playschemes run for 34 days each year encouraging social skills and giving parents and carers respite

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Giving children with special needs the chance to interact and develop social skills is the aim of a long-running holiday club scheme

Breakaway Playschemes provide holiday fun for children and young people aged five-19 with special needs in the North Herts and Stevenage areas.

The playschemes create an opportunity for social interaction between children and young people with special needs, through different mediums of play in a safe, supportive and fun environment. They provide a varied and interesting programme of activities which enable peer interaction to help develop the social skills of the children and young people, while giving much-needed respite for parents and carers.

The schemes operate at two venues in Stevenage and one in North Herts during all the school holidays. There’s also a regular Saturday Playscheme in Stevenage during term time.

North Herts Centre for Voluntary Service has run the playschemes and Saturday club for 16 years. The Saturday service initially ran from the scout hut next to the Grange School in Letchworth and was set up by a group of parents for their children. NHCVS was asked to take over the running of the club by the parents who wanted to ensure it was sustainable for future young people. It has been run from several venues over the years, and moved to its current venue, St Nicholas School in Stevenage, in 2015 as the club expanded and more secure outside space was needed.

North Herts Breakaway has been running almost as long as the Saturday club. The Stevenage Playscheme started in 2003.

The holiday playschemes run for 34 days each year from 10am until 3pm. There is also a Breakaway Saturday club monthly for children and young people aged five-11 and a monthly Breakaway Lifestyle and Leisure Club for those aged 12-19.

The cost is £10 per day, which includes all activities. There is an annual activity charge of £25 per annum for all children and young people to pay for arts and crafts materials. This charge is waived for families in receipt of income support.

If you have time on your hands, or are looking to gain experience in a field of study, why not become a volunteer with NHCVS Breakaway? Volunteers (aged 16 and above) support children and young people to access the play activities and help with their personal care needs while they attend. You could support a young person one-to-one or lead a group activity. It’s a rewarding experience and will help promote understanding of people who have additional needs. Specific training is available to learn new skills and develop existing ones.

To discover more about volunteering and the playschemes, visit

This article is by North Herts Centre for Voluntary Services. There are seven CVS in the county with hundreds of volunteering opportunities. Go to for more information.

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