Information for families in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole

HAF funding and grant information for providers

School holidays can be pressure points for families due to increased costs (such as food and childcare) and reduced incomes. For some children this can lead to a holiday experience gap - with children from disadvantaged families less likely to access organised out-of-school activities; and more likely to experience social isolation and ‘unhealthy holidays’ in terms of nutrition and physical health.

The holiday activities and food programme (HAF) is a response to this. Evidence suggests that holiday activities can have a positive impact on children and young people. It also shows they work best when they provide consistent and easily accessible enrichment activities, when they offer more than just breakfast or lunch, and when they involve children (and parents) in food preparation. 

HAF programme aims

The holiday activities and food programme (HAF) is funded by the Department for Education.

The aim of the programme is to make free holiday activity places available to children receiving benefits-related free school meals for the equivalent of at least four hours a day, for four days a week, for six weeks of the year (1 week at Easter, 4 weeks in the summer holidays and 1 week at Christmas). It is optional for eligible children to attend this provision.

Further guidance and support

See the downloads and website links box for information on the HAF programme, the grant process and support materials.

If families are working they may be able to get back some costs related to holiday activities. Visit the Childcare Choices website for more information.

A number of external organisations are offering resources to support HAF delivery. We do not endorse or recommend any of these but will share details on this page in case they are of interest. Details of resources from the Youth Sport Trust and Phunky Foods can be found in the website section. The Phunky Foods website has a selection of free resources that can be used to support nutritional education delivery.

You can find out about other organisations that might be able to support you on this page.

The HAF resource pack in the downloads section has a lot of useful information to support all aspects of your HAF delivery.

HAF bitesize sessions

HAF 'bitesize' sessions on a variety of topics, are delivered by the DfE and their national HAF support partner, Childcare Works. The sessions are being recorded enabling access for providers who are not able to attend the live sessions. We will continue to provide links to the recordings and resources and details of forthcoming sessions on this page.

October bitesize session - value for money recording and slides

HAF bitesize presentation - Raising reach March 2023

HAF bitesize you tube video - Raising reach March 2023

HAF bitesize you tube video - Sports and leisure partnerships March 2023

HAF bitesize you tube video - Delivering HAF in schools March 2023

May bitesize sessions

April bitesize sessions

March bitesize sessions

HAF bitesize session: Reach and Engagement – connecting with communities and achieving participation - YouTube

Activities and Sports - June 2021.

Supporting Children with SEND - July 2021.

Meeting the School Food Standards - July 2021.

Signposting families to wider services and support - July 2021.

Lessons learned - Food. October 2021.

Lesssons learned - SEND. October 2021.

Schools engagement strategies - October 2021.

Booking systems - November 2021

Reaching older children and young people - November 2021

Playwork principles into action - November 2021.

Meeting wider outcomes - November 2021.

Safeguarding and child protection essentials - November 2021.

Extending children's food experiences - November 2021.

Partnerships with parents to meet children's needs including SEND - December 2021 including the slides from the workshop.

Caring for and meeting children's ages and stages of development - December 2021

Building in active sports and games - December 2021

Natasha's Law and food allergens - December 2021. Allergen guidance for food businesses and allergen spec sheets and information on anaphylaxis can be found in the website links bar.

HAF provider forum meetings

We support HAF providers through regular virtual provider forums. The forums are an opportunity to share information and updates, ask questions, network and share good practice. Previous provider forum notes can be viewed below.

We record forum meetings and a copy of the recording is automatically provided to everyone that attends the session via Teams. If you are unable to attend a session but would like to view the recording, please email us at and we will send you a link to the recording.

BCP Council summer 2021 powerpoint slides

22 June provider forum meeting notes

6 July provider forum meeting notes

20 July provider forum meeting notes

27 July provider forum meeting notes

10 August provider forum meeting notes

October half term and Christmas HAF grant information sessions - view the slides from the session here.

9 November provider forum meeting notes.

30 November provider forum meeting notes.

14 December provider forum meeting notes.

COVID-19 and protective measures

The government continues to manage the risk of serious illness from the spread of the virus and their priority is the delivery of face-to-face, high quality provision to all children.

Government guidance can be found below:

Covid-19: Actions for out of school settings

Out of school settings: COVID-19 guidance for parents and carers

Local measures

It is important that providers have contingency plans in place for delivery, should provision be affected by COVID-19 outbreaks.

The latest Public Health Dorset COVID action card, which was in place for Christmas delivery can be viewed here.

If you have a general enquiry or wish to speak to someone for advice you can contact Public Health Dorset using the dedicated email address:

Applying for grant funding to deliver HAF in 2024

The DfE have issued 2023 guidance for the delivery of the HAF programme.

We will be taking applications for funding to deliver HAF places during the Christmas holidays. For further details, please read our grant terms and conditions, grant funding information and apply via the application form.

Please email if you have any queries.

Useful Websites