Since 2021 the government has funded a programme called HAF (Holiday, Activities and Food programme) across all areas of the country.
Research has shown that the school holidays can be pressure points for some families. For some children this can lead to a holiday experience gap, with some children being:
• Less likely to access organised holiday activities.
• More likely to experience ‘unhealthy holidays’ in terms of nutrition and physical health.
• More likely to experience social isolation.
In response to this research there are now a large number of holiday club providers who are offering HAF places to eligible children (from reception to year 11).
The aims of the programme are to ensure children:
• Eat healthily over the school holidays.
• Are active during the school holidays.
• Take part in engaging and enriching activities which support the development of resilience, character and wellbeing.
• Be safe and not to be socially isolated.
• Have a greater knowledge of health and nutrition.
Currently a very low percentage of those eligible are actually using their free places. It is really important to raise the profile of this programme across all areas to ensure it reaches as many children and families as possible. The benefits and opportunities this programme offers are huge, however many families are put off because they do not realise they are eligible or because they don’t understand what it means.
For any parent or carer who receives any financial support for their children it is worth exploring this further. There are a wide range of clubs that offer HAF spaces and we need to make sure these places are filled to ensure the continued funding of the programme. Whenever you see HAF activities being advertised please help spread the word and let’s get this great programme out to as many families as possible.
For further information please visit www.gov.uk/government/publications/holiday-activities-and-food-programme/holiday-activities-and-food-programme-2023