NEVILLE siblings, Gary, Phil and Tracey, are in talks with Bury Council about offering free summer sports sessions for vulnerable children in the borough.

Hints of a “famous family” from the town supporting the local authority’s summer activities for schoolchildren who have missed out on education due to the coronavirus crisis were made at a council meeting this week.

The Bury Times understands that the Neville siblings are behind the scheme.

Deputy leader Cllr Tamoor Tariq, who is the council’s cabinet member for children, young people and skills, spoke of the “ambitious” summer school provision plans at an overview and scrutiny committee meeting on Wednesday.

He said: “In terms of our intention with a summer school, it’s not physically using our school buildings or asking our teaching staff to work over the summer, it’s around the coming together of various partners and collaborations and putting activities together.

“We are currently in discussions and still finalising plans around that.

“I can’t go into too much detail, but some of them are quite exciting and hopefully quite high-profile.

“We are in talks with a certain local famous family who might be able to contribute to this initiative.”

This comes after Cllr Tariq wrote to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson last month asking the government to support the council’s plans for summer school activities.

But he said the government did not even acknowledge receipt of the letter.

He said: “One of the problems that we’ve found, which is why the plan hasn’t been finalised is that these things cost money.

“Unfortunately we’re trying now to put together a number of initiatives to benefit more disadvantaged pupils by spending next to nothing.

“That’s proving challenging. And we’re trying to collaborate with our schools to help us in that regard.

“I thought we did something quite unique and proactive in contacting the government, in paying tribute to the policy decision around free school meals which will serve around 5,000 of our pupils well over the summer.

“We’d hope that the hunger for food would be reciprocated in hunger for learning or hunger for engagement over the summer, but unfortunately nothing was forthcoming from the government so we’ve been left to our own devices.

“So we’re still working on the plan and hopefully we’ll have something to announce in the not too distant future.”

Cllr Clare Walsh, who is a teacher at Holy Cross College, welcomed the plans.

She said: “As an educationalist, the summer provision needs to not be education. What I mean by that is, it has to be pastoral, it has to be activity-based, it has to be health and wellbeing.

“It might seem an odd thing for a teacher to say, but at the end of the day, I think that’s so, so important. It’s about engagement, it’s that routine.

“I’m really hoping, in terms of a certain football teaming family, that we might be possibly going down that line, and I know you can’t possibly say at the moment, but let’s hope so and I really, really look forward to hearing about that.”