Information for Schools and Professionals

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The government has recently announced that the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme will be expanded across the whole of England until 2025.

Read about the HAF programme: Holiday activities and food programme 2021 – GOV.UK (

Funds have been made available to every local authority in England to coordinate free holiday provisions, including healthy food and enriching activities. The programme will cover the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays. Dudley have been granted £1,200,000 per year.

The funding for the HAF programme is for children who receive benefits-related free school meals. (Reception to Year 11).

We are seeking to fund a diverse range of projects and enrichment activities which are attractive and engaging for all ages and abilities of school children and include nutritious food. Activities are funded for those receiving benefits-related free school meals. Children who are not in receipt of benefits-related free school meals can pay to attend if there are sufficient spaces. Spaces for children who are in receipt of benefits-related free school meals will be made available at no cost to the family.

The aim of the programme is to make free places available to children eligible for benefits-related free school meals for the equivalent of at least 4 hours a day, 4 days a week, 6 weeks a year. The HAF programme needs to cover 4 weeks in the Summer and a week’s worth of provision in each of the Easter and Christmas holidays.

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
  • 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 and that they work best when they:

  • provide consistent and easily accessible enrichment activities
  • cover more than just breakfast or lunch
  • involve children (and parents) in food preparation