Kids in the City

Colchester City centre 2023 - the inaugral Kids in the City

What was the project?

A new concept and event that provides free family activities for KS2 children to think about what they might want to do when they grow up by taking over roles and taking part in activities across the city Centrex, driving footfall for outlets in the start of the summer holidays and raising aspirations for children from all backgrounds by providing free opportunities.

What was involved?

Families travelled from across Essex to join in activities in Colchester city centre on July 29th and 30th for Kids in the City, a weekend of free fun-filled activities for donations to the NSPCC's Childhood Day.

Colchester played host to a collection of fabulous learning experiences, each giving youngsters the chance to explore a different theme or potential career. It was a chance for the kids to take over the city, but it also proved to be an inspiration for both children and parents, learning more about their passions and what they may want to do when they grow up.

How did it go?

All the pre-book activity slots were sold out prior to the weekend itself and the walk-up options saw mass footfall on the day up take of their activities, seeing them through to capacity across both days.

The activities on offer included retail roles such as visual merchandising, toy demonstrating and personal shopping assistants, hospitality service areas, medical careers, emergency services such as Fire and rescue, Sports and Health opportunities including astroturf set up for football coaching, and budding artists welcomed for bespoke mosaic creations.

It was great to see the number of kids who joined in. There were loads and boys and girls who took part that hadn't kicked a ball before, but they still wanted to have a go, some with disabilities and many with low confidence.

Glenn Chapman, Stanway Pegasus

Kids in the City in action

Upon surveying, some of the ideas of other activities families would like to see included in the future include ideas such as baking at the local bakeries, gardening in the council's open park spaces, becoming attraction's tour guides, estate and travel agent options and city hall public speaking!

The Results

Over 500 children participated in 8 locations throughout the city centre, each hosting between 1 and 5 activities in each of their spaces that allowed for children to participate in things that they might want to do when they grow up.

Donation buckets over the weekend raised over £350 from lose change and businesses supported in donations equating to over £1800. In total the campaign raised £2,500 for the NSPCC and drive awareness in press, social media and signage over the weekend of delivery.

The locations reported a lift in footfall, employee job satisfaction, excellent customer feedback and meeting sales targets for the day and surpassing them.

Average score from survey participants was 4.9 of out 5 score for the quality of the activities provided.
100% of survey respondents said they would go to a Kids in the City event again in the future!
£2.5k was raised for the NSPCC!
The Comments

We absolutely loved the event. I took my eldest son and one of his friends, who currently wants to be a doctor when he grows up so the NHS escape room was a great experience. My son was slightly anxious about what to expect from the event, as he sometimes doesn’t feel confident speaking out with people he doesn’t know, however it was great to see his confidence grow throughout the day and see him throw himself into serving drinks in Lion Walk and being a personal shopper in Fenwick!

It was so well organised and fab to be able to organise our day in advance via the website. From the engaging staff to all the amazing goodies the children received it was more than we ever imagined it to be

Laura Lord, who took along two boys, Isaac Lord, 8, and Theo Bracken, 9, to Colchester on Sunday

We thought the event was excellent. Really well organised, really friendly staff. My children thoroughly enjoyed it all and have been setting up their own Kids in the City event at home for me and their dad! Joseph said he wished it was on again today. They have both been inspired by the event. We have also done the octopus hunt and trick or treat events and look forward to the next one!

Jennie Norris, who joined in the fun with her children Hannah, 6, and Joseph, 4.

Kids in the City was a truly unique and worthwhile event. We really valued the opportunity to showcase the varied career pathways in the NHS, while providing a fun experience for children in the local community.

Louise Bennett, Talent for Care Lead - East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust