CHILDREN in Ilkley are being given the chance to take part in a summer programme of free activities.

Organisers say the programme is off to a great start thanks to the sponsorship and support of local organisations and companies.

An afternoon of sport tomorrow, Friday, August 4 will be followed by a Junior Tennis Camp and a martial arts taster session on August 10 giving participants the opportunity to improve their tennis skills and to try out taekwondo and kick boxing.

A programme of sport, martial arts, tennis camps, dance and climbing are on offer throughout the school holiday, and the organisers, Ilkley Youth and Community Association are encouraging local youngsters to take up the spare places still available. All the sessions are free, thanks to the support of local companies, who are giving their own facilities or services free or at discounted rates and the sponsorship of other local bodies.

"We have organised a range of taster events which aren’t always available to young people, different challenges and experiences that perhaps they will try and then find they like and want to take further", said Councillor Martin Smith, Chairman of the IYCA. "It’s an opportunity for everyone."

All age groups are catered for in either open age ranges, or with some just for teenagers and others for younger children.

More than £2000 in sponsorship has come from organisations that include, Ilkley Parish Council, the Ilkley and Ilkley Wharfedale Rotary Clubs, the Safer and Stronger Communities Fund and 2nd Nature Cleaning.

JB Sports Coaching of Keighley will run several afternoons of sport at the Riverside Gardens, the Kokoro Academy, of Dewsbury will run age-graded martial arts sessions back at the Ilkley Warehouse Youth Club, where there will also be a dance session, and Ilkley Lawn Tennis and Squash Club will host tennis camps, while Clip N Climb will host a further session.

With the exception of the JB Sports afternoons which are open to all, other sessions need to be booked by ringing 07544 136921.

The full programme is as follows: Friday, August 4 - JB Sports, Riverside, 3pm to 5pm. Tuesday, August 8 - tennis for ages 10 and over, ILTC, 9pm until 12 noon. Wednesday, August 9 - JB Sports, Riverside, 3 to 5pm. Thursday August 10 - Kokoro Academy Martial Arts, for eight to twelve year olds, The Warehouse, 2pm to 2.45pm ; 13 plus from 3pm to 3.45pm. Wednesday, August 16 - JB Sports, Riverside, 3pm to 5pm. Thursday, August 17 - Under 9s tennis, ILTC, 9am to12 noon; Street Dance, The Warehouse, 1.30pm to 5pm. Tuesday, August 22 - Clip N Climb, 4pm. Wednesday, August 23 - JB Sports, Riverside, 3pm to 5pm. Wednesday August 30 - JB Sports, Riverside, 3pm to 5pm.