CHILDREN’s play schemes are still waiting on official guidance for how they can operate this summer and “time is running out”, a councillor has said.

Brighton and Hove City Council is calling on the Government to confirm additional funding for sports clubs and play schemes so that disadvantaged and vulnerable children can take part in leisure activities this summer.

Councillor John Allcock, chairman of the council’s children, young people and skills committee, said key workers whose children have been attending school during lockdown “urgently need to know what will be on offer” as schools break up for the summer holidays.

Cllr Allcock has written to Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education, and urged him to provide all councils with funding for play schemes.

He said: “Providers who usually run play schemes and sports activities are waiting for guidance – and time is running out.

“Critical workers, including NHS staff and social workers, urgently need to know what will be on offer.

“Providers also need notice to recruit or un-furlough their staff.

“Funding to provide additional places for vulnerable and disadvantaged children would ensure they were provided for safely and had a positive summer.

“This in turn would support their transition back to school.”

Cllr Allcock said the Government has only confirmed funding for “holiday and food activity projects” in ten areas of the country so far.

He said: “This funding needs to be made available to all councils, if plans are to be put in place locally to provide for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children, who have missed out on education and wider opportunities during the pandemic.”

The Labour councillor for Goldsmid said that if activity schemes and clubs are given permission, children and young people could enjoy a range of fun projects over the summer.

He added: “Meeting the needs of disadvantaged children is more than providing traditional catch-up programmes in academic subjects.

“We have fantastic partners such as local sports clubs, the city’s music service and other voluntary sector providers.

“These types of activities would support transition back to school in the autumn and support positive mental health.”