We are now accepting funding applications for kids’ clean air vacations

Eight years ago the City of Ostrava set up a special fund to help local children at risk from air pollution to enjoy vacations in a clean, healthy environment – mainly in mountain regions. This year’s funding applications can be submitted between 15 May and 31 May 2018, and the “healthy breaks” are scheduled for the period between the beginning of November 2018 and the end of April 2019 – during the season when air pollution in urban areas is at its worst.

Preschools and primary schools run by the City of Ostrava can submit applications up to 25 May (the same date as last year). For other organizations (not run by the City), the deadline is 31 May 2018.

The City of Ostrava has set aside 22 million CZK from its approved 2018 budget to support these healthy breaks; combined with donations from local companies (794 000 CZK) and surpluses from previous years, the total sum available has now climbed to almost 25 million CZK.

Kateřina Šebestová, the Deputy Mayor with responsibility for the environment, gave more details:

“The fund has now been up and running for eight years, and during that time we have contributed to two-week mountain vacations for almost 18 000 children from Ostrava’s preschools and primary schools. In the first few years the City contributed 5 million CZK per year, but the sum has gradually risen to this year’s 22 million. We are set to approve funding for a record number of children this year – it could easily be a thousand more than last year.”

During the most recent season (November 2017 to April 2018), the City of Ostrava provided almost 15 million CZK to help pay for 2582 children from 33 schools to enjoy breaks in mountain regions. A further 314 children from Ostrava schools received funding from a similar programme run by the Moravian-Silesian Region (co-financed by the City via the fund).

The fund can be used to pay for breaks lasting at least 14 days in areas that are unaffected by smog. Eligible costs include accommodation, catering, transport, health-related activities (such as skiing, swimming or salt cave visits), insurance and fees. The City contributes 6 000 CZK per child. The catering must meet the minimum standards applicable to school meals, and the accommodation must meet the required legal standards for school trips.

Kateřina Šebestová added:

“Thanks to a sustained improvement in our financial situation, two years ago we were able to raise the City’s contribution per child from 4 500 CZK to 6 000 CZK. This helped us to ensure that the children could enjoy better accommodation and catering.”

The most popular regions visited as part of the scheme are the Jeseníky mountains, the Hostýn-Vsetín hills and the Beskydy mountains.


Number of children receiving funding as part of the “healthy breaks” scheme since the fund was established

2010/2011 1 543 children
2011/2012 1 919 children
2012/2013 1 231 children
2013/2014                     2 267 children
2014/2015 1 815 children
2015/2016 2 908 children
2016/2017 3 217 children
2017/2018* 2 896 children
TOTAL 17 796 children
* still open for applications – the figure given is the maximum possible number of children who can receive funding