Children and young people living in Byker, Newcastle will be kept busy throughout the school summer holidays thanks to a new initiative launched this week.

The Byker Children & Young People’s Network is a partnership of organisations working together to increase the play and youth offer for children and young people in Byker.

The Byker Best Summer Ever project is led by Byker Community Trust (BCT), the housing association which owns the Grade II* Listed Estate, Northern Stage and Byker Community Centre who have planned a series of free activities everyday throughout the six weeks school holidays to ensure this will be the ‘Best Summer Ever’.

The initiative is part of Newcastle’s ‘Best Summer Ever’ – a million-pound programme of events, activities, sports and healthy eating available to all children and young people across the city.

Through a multi-agency approach, the Byker Best Summer Ever partnership was awarded £10,000 of grant funding from the National Lottery’s Awards for All and £700 from the Department of Transport’s Big Bike Revival. The project totals in excess of £50,000 thanks to the support and in-kind donations of a whole range of local organisations to ensure there are more activities for the benefit of Byker residents.

The project will provide free lunch for young people every day from Byker Community Centre followed by a range of activities including arts and crafts, poetry, dancing, horse riding sessions, multi-sports as well as visits and trips to The Victoria Tunnel, Whitehouse Farm, Seven Stories and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.

Earlier this week, BCT held its popular family fun day at Harbottle Park and as part of the national Places of Poetry project, Northern Stage and Seven Stories will be delivering sessions throughout August. The project invites people of all ages and abilities to write poems of place, heritage and identity and place them onto a digital map. The Byker Estate was selected as one of twelve sites across the country to hold local events and poet in residence Rowan McCabe along with playwright Lee Mattison and staff from Northern Stage will be working with the young people to write and edit poems.

Jill Haley, Chief Executive of BCT, said: “We all know that the school summer holidays is a time for fun and relaxation but it can also be stressful and expensive to keep young ones busy and active. There are lots of great events happening across the city during the six weeks holidays but are sometimes not always accessible for our residents.

“By working in partnership with lots of different organisations and providers, we have been able to pull together a very comprehensive daily timetable of activities and events for all ages and abilities, here on the Estate and the wider Byker area, to ensure everyone is given an opportunity and to bring the Byker community together.

“By accessing additional funding through grants, the partnership has been able to put something really special together which we believe will make this summer, the best ever in Byker.”

Jill Adamson, Director of Participation at Northern Stage, said: “Byker Best Summer Ever is part of our ongoing work with the local community to co-create cultural events and activity in Byker. Our rehearsal space is in Byker and we’ve been establishing long term relationships with community partners for some time now so we’re really excited to launch a free programme for children and young people this summer. Thanks to additional funding, as part of Newcastle’s Best Summer Ever, we’ve been able to employ nine young people to help run the programme. And we’ve also got opportunities for adults coming up in August, including open auditions for performers – no experience necessary! – to be part of a new show we’re making with Common Wealth at Byker Community Centre which will premiere in October.”

For information on sign up and activity arrangements, you can visit the Byker: Best Summer Ever Facebook page or alternatively, please call 07874 336 784.