School holidays can be particular pressure points for some families because of increased costs (such as food and childcare) and reduced incomes. For some children that can lead to a holiday experience gap - with children from disadvantaged families less likely to access organised out-of-school activities; more likely to experience ‘unhealthy holidays’ in terms of nutrition and physical health and more likely to experience social isolation.
Free holiday clubs are a response to this issue and evidence suggests that they 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.
The holiday activities and food programme (HAF) is being funded by the Depatment for Education.
The aim of the programme is to make free places available to children recieving benefits-related free school meals for the equivalent of at least four hours a day, four days a week and for six weeks a year.
BCP Council are using the Department for Education funding to provide grant funding to activity providers to deliver (and develop) free holiday activity provision, including healthy food and enriching activities, for children who receive benefits-related free school meals. It will be optional for eligible children to attend this provision if they wish.
We have already run a pilot programme over the Easter 2021 holiday. Further funding is available to cover four weeks in the summer and a week’s worth of provision during the Christmas holiday. Providers are expected to make full use of volunteers to support delivery.
The offer of free holiday provision will be available for all children eligible for free school meals in the BCP Council area. We also encourage providers to make the holiday activities available to any children not eligible for free school meals, who can pay to attend. Thinking about ways of supporting our families who can’t pay in the longer term will be key from the start.
Information on the funding available and grant criteria can be found in the downloads section of this page.
We will be inviting applications for summer 2021 provision soon. Further information about the grant application process will be added to this page shortly.
See the downloads box for information on funding, Public Health COVID-19 guidance, the grant process and FAQs. You can also view the latest DfE HAF guidance document in the website links section.
Thank you to those who have delivered HAF places so far and attended our provider forum meetings. Notes/slides from the meetings can be found in the downloads section. We look forward to continuing to work with our providers to help shape delivery of this exciting programme.
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 downloads section.
Details of our next HAF Providers Forum meeting will follow soon.