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Reaching even more children with activities and food during the school holidays

29 April 2022

Image_HAFspringgraphic  The Holiday Activities and Food programme (HAF) aims to support the wellbeing of children who receive benefits-related free school meals by providing a variety of engaging activities and food during school holidays.

The HAF programme works collaboratively with schools, young people’s centres, district and borough councils, and external providers, to ensure there are varied and fun activities for children and young people to enjoy, as well as a substantial meal on the activity days.

In 2021 almost 15,000 children took part in the HAF programme, with at-home activity packs instead of face-to-face provision when coronavirus restrictions applied.

The most recent delivery of the HAF programme was huge success over the spring/Easter 2022 school holiday, where children and young people were engaged in a wide range of activities, including bowling, ice skating, climbing, crafts, cooking, sports, dance, and adventure days.

To enable the continued success of recent school holiday activities and food delivery, Nottinghamshire County Council approved the establishment of a dedicated HAF team at the Children and Young People’s Committee on 25 April, enabling the team to grow to five posts which will help facilitate more activities and even better planning for future school holidays.

Parents whose children took part in the spring/Easter activities have shared their appreciation with the HAF team, with feedback such as:

“Just wanted to say we had a wonderful time at the skate day. My son has never been ice skating and never had the opportunity as I couldn't afford the prices. I think you should do more days like this as it not only gives the child a great way to shine and develop their confidence and interests, it also helps parents bond more with their children, spending that quality time with them. Also the staff were so helpful!”

And:

“My daughter was very apprehensive to go but came home from the first day with a big smile on her face and couldn’t wait to go the next day!”

Tom Bingley, Director of TB SPORT which is one of the HAF providers, said:

“It was fantastic that once again we were able to offer HAF to the children and families that we work with in schools and the community over the Easter holiday. We linked with many other providers, specialists and venues who offered their services to us as we strived to meet a key programme objective of providing children and young people with as much variety as possible and not just focus on sports.

“I am incredibly proud to employ a team who embrace HAF and have given children, young people and families some unforgettable experiences. I want to thank everyone who made our Nottinghamshire 2022 Easter HAF a success and we look forward to providing a summer programme.”

Looking ahead to the summer holidays, HAF will include similar activities to the spring school holiday but with even more for families to choose from.

Councillor Tracey Taylor, Chairman for the Children and Young People’s Committee said:

“I am very proud of the work delivered so far for children and their families over recent school holidays, and I now look forward to the establishment of this larger HAF team, which will be able to reach more families, engage with more providers, and overall have a really positive impact on Nottinghamshire families.

“The continuation of the Holiday Activities and Food programme has been confirmed for another three years, so I am sure the establishment of this team will mean success for these future holidays.”

The Holiday Activities and Food programme is available for children aged 5-16 who receive benefits-related free school meals. Families can find eligibility criteria and register for free school meals on Nottinghamshire County Council’s website:

https://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/education/school-meals/free-school-meals-and-milk

Find out more about the Holiday Activities and Food programme for Nottinghamshire:

https://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/hafprogramme

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