Watch as Sunderland families enjoy free fun day to help keep children active during cost of living crisis

Children have been enjoying free fun in the sun at the launch event for this summer’s Active Sunderland Family Fun Days.

The event, which was held at Herrington Country Park, saw hundreds of children and families taking advantage of the warm sunny weather to enjoy a whole range of activities including football, hockey, swingball, tennis, basketball and hula hooping.

Children could also enjoy an assault course, try new activities including handball, archery and bocce, and take part in workshops looking at healthy lifestyles.

Active Sunderland Delivery Officer Ashley Tuck said: “This is all about keeping children and families active during the summer. We’ve been working with our partners to provide an opportunity for children to take part in new activities which we hope will lead to some of them wanting to try again and get into a new sport.”

Kim Parkinson from Washington was certainly impressed with the activities on offer.

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Kim, 36, said: “This is a really good event as it’s important that children keep fit and active over the summer holidays. It’s also important to keep them entertained with things to do.”

Ella Gough, 11, added: “If I wasn’t here then I’d probably be lying in bed on my phone. I really enjoyed the assault course.”

Evelyn and Scarlett Marshall from Shiney Row having fun at the Active Sunderland Summer Family Fun Day at Herrington Country Park.

With Wearside in the grip of the cost of living crisis, the fact the event was free was vitally important for families.

Ella’s mum, Steph Gough, 35, said: “This is a brilliant idea and the fact it’s free is really important. With six weeks to fill and three children, days out can be really expensive.”

Washington parent Lauren Maddison, 34, who was at the event with son Harry, added: “I work full-time and take three weeks off over the summer. I like to do something with Harry everyday which can obviously become very expensive and so the fact these events are free is really important and make a massive difference.

"The children have lots of fun and it’s really important they do something outside and active as they spend enough time indoors.”

Active Sunderland Delivery Officer Ashley Tuck said it was "massively important" that the even was free and accessible to all.

Harry, nine, added: “I’ve had lots of fun and tried handball for the first time.”

For organisers of the event it was vital to ensure there was no cost to attend.

Ashley said: “With the coast of living at the moment it’s massively important to ensure events are free and accessible to all.”

It was a sentiment shared by Shiney Row dad Ethan Marshall who was at the fun day with daughters Scarlett, eight, and Evelyn, six.

Ethan, 32, said: “I’ve been impressed with how it has been organised and the fact it’s free really helps.”

Doxford Park mum Claire Pratchett, 36, added: “When you’ve six weeks to fill it’s important events are free. The children have really enjoyed it and it’s a chance for them to mix and socialise.”

Further Summer Family Fun Days are scheduled for Princess Anne Park on August 3, Barnes Park August 10 and Mowbray Park August 31. There will also be a two day event on Saturday and Sunday August 20 and 21 to coincide with the British Triathlon Super Series Grand Final.

Sunderland City Council’s Cabinet Member for Vibrant City, Councillor Linda Williams, said: "These fun and free events have everything to get families active and having fun during the summer holidays.”