HOLIDAY hubs which sparked concerns amongst parents about the wellbeing and safety of their children now “seem fine”.

The holiday hubs, organised by Cherwell District Council, are held annually in Oxford, Banbury, Bicester and Kidlington.

They aim to offer a health mix of sports, art, craft, and games to keep children aged five to 11 years old “happy” during school holidays.

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However, several parents reported safeguarding concerns about the holiday hubs which seem to have “worsened” over the summer.

Some examples were passwords not being asked for when children were picked up, staff calling children “stupid or idiots”, staff “throwing balls at small children making them cry and laughing it off, and upset children having their concerns “minimised or dismissed.”

Since the Oxford Mail first reported on the concerns, one parent, who witnessed numerous incidents, said the hubs now “seem fine”.

They said their children have reported “no further disclosures” and “everything seemed fine” last week.

“I noticed that older staff were present,” she said. “They were very careful about checking children's passwords before releasing them to parents and carers.”

However, another parent has reported similar incidents and said they were “so pleased to not be alone” in their concerns.

They said: “The hub has gone downhill so much that I have cancelled my spaces for my children for the rest of the holidays.

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“My children were coming home from the holiday hub so upset every day and I just thought it was because they wanted to be at home but having watched the staff at drop off, pick up, and when I've been at the leisure centre for other activities, I have seen that they do tend to just sit around a lot. 

“My children were also telling me how the staff shout a lot and if anyone is naughty, they make all of the children sit in silence for five minutes and if anyone makes a noise, they start the timer again.

“Each time it is usually the same child or very few children. Whilst this discipline is acceptable at school, I don't feel it is at a supposed fun holiday camp. 

 “My eldest child found herself being told off several times because she was trying to protect some of the younger ones as some other girls were scaring them about going to the toilet.”

Speaking at the time, a spokesperson for the council said: “We take the allegations made very seriously.

“All the staff delivering the sessions are fully trained and must pass DBS checks before the hubs begin.

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“They additionally have a direct line to senior managers to report any problems or concerns that occur.”


Read more from this author

This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford, Wantage and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing:

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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