The Holiday Activities and Food programme (HAF) is back this summer to provide school children who receive benefits-related free school meals with a variety of FREE face-to-face activities to enjoy during the school holidays.
The programme works collaboratively with schools, young people’s centres, district and borough councils, and external providers, to support the physical and mental wellbeing of school children through varied and fun activities, as well as a meal on the day.
Families across Nottinghamshire with eligible children should have received letters with their unique HAF code for booking activities, whilst some families will also have their letters sent home through schools. Parents can check if their child is eligible for free school meals by visiting the County Council’s website: www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals.
In 2022, the HAF programme reached 12,133 Nottinghamshire primary and secondary school children across spring, summer, autumn and winter through 138 venues. Children and young people took part in a range of activities, including bowling, ice skating, climbing, crafts, cooking, sports, dance and adventure days.
Children who attended fed back their positive experience to the HAF team with 89% saying they had fun and 96% wanting to join the programme again in 2023. The cost-free aspect was also greatly appreciated by parents, with 100% agreeing HAF has helped them with the cost-of-living increases.
Natalie, parent to a child who took part in the spring HAF programme, said: “I would definitely recommend HAF, it’s very good for children’s social skills. My daughter loves it here. All the new skills that she’s learning are great”.
Clare Harding, Head Teacher at Asquith Primary school, said: “There’s a whole bunch of reasons why HAF is so important. It’s somewhere children can go that’s safe where they can socialise and enjoy themselves, and where they can keep fit and help develop healthy lifestyles. Being able to come to an activity where food is provided and where they’re with their friends gives children a sense of self-worth and self-esteem”.
Councillor Tracey Taylor, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “It’s incredible to see that the work delivered so far for children and families as part of the Holiday Activities and Food programme has been so well-received and had such a positive and impactful effect on families in Nottinghamshire.
“The HAF activity sessions are a wonderful opportunity for school children to socialise in a safe place and enjoy a variety of fun and engaging activities. I would encourage parents to find out if their child is eligible on the Nottinghamshire County Council website and sign up to the activities with their unique HAF code”.
You can find eligibility criteria and register for free school meals on Nottinghamshire County Council’s website: www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals. And you can find out more about the Holiday Activities and Food programme for Nottinghamshire here: www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/hafprogramme.