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Free iCards for youngsters in Ipswich this summer to help prevent kids falling in with gangs

PUBLISHED: 15:24 22 June 2018

Jumpers for Goalposts events in Ipswich parks will be among those youngsters can use their free iCards to join Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Jumpers for Goalposts events in Ipswich parks will be among those youngsters can use their free iCards to join Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Archant

Youngsters across Ipswich are set to be given free iCards for the summer holidays which will allow them to enjoy activities across the whole six week break.

Youngsters in Ipswich will get a free iCard for the duration of the six week holidays Picture: JASON NOBLEYoungsters in Ipswich will get a free iCard for the duration of the six week holidays Picture: JASON NOBLE

Thursday’s public meeting to discuss concerns over violence and drug culture in the town featured community leaders coming together to speak with scores of parents.

One question raised was what was on offer for youngsters to do in the town that would prevent them falling in with gangs.

Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere pledged free iCards for all school-age youngsters up to the age of 16, which would be valid for the duration of the six week summer holidays.

It means they will be able to join dozens of activities laid on in the council’s gyms and parks without a cost.

David Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, pledged free iCards for all youngsters over the six week summer holidays Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCILDavid Ellesmere, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, pledged free iCards for all youngsters over the six week summer holidays Picture: IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

Mr Ellesmere said: “Every year we run activities in the parks where children can just turn up and have supervised activities.

“We are looking to expand that over and above what we normally do because we know people are very concerned about making sure there is something for children to do over the summer.”

The council is working with all schools in the town to issue the cards, meaning no child is left out.

Mr Ellesmere said: “It’s a big logistical exercise before the holidays but we are determined to do it. It allows them to take part regardless of their financial situation and we think it’s the right thing to do.”

The public meeting had a large turnout, with dozens of people attending Picture: GEMMA MITCHELLThe public meeting had a large turnout, with dozens of people attending Picture: GEMMA MITCHELL

The council’s sports centres lays on activities for youngsters every day of the holidays, including special sessions such as archery and roller blading, as well as sports like football and cricket in the parks.

Mr Ellesmere said it would complement the borough’s existing summer programme of high profile events such as Ipswich Music Day and Outdoor Cinema, and aid parents with helping their kids remain active.

The details are currently being put together with more progress set to be made in the week ahead.

“A lot of children we are giving cards to would not have used the sports centre so they will not cost us anything,” Mr Ellesmere said.

“Clearly some of the people we give iCards to would have been using the sports centres so we are really going to have to see what the effect is [financially] over the summer holidays, but we will take that hit as we think it is important for the town.”

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