£4 million support proposed for families during school holidays

On Wednesday 25 January, Gloucestershire County Council’s cabinet will be asked to approve the allocation of around £4 million of support for children and families over the next three years.

The support will be provided by the Holiday Activities and Food Programme (HAF) which is funded by the Department of Education (DfE), for families eligible for benefits-related free school meals.

The HAF programme provides families with six weeks of high quality, fun, enriching activities and nutritious food during the school holidays. This is made up of one week during spring, four weeks over summer and one week in the winter holidays, up to the end of 2025.

A sum of £1.6m has already been allocated for 2023, with the council expecting to receive a further allocation of around £2.5m from DfE for 2024/2025.

In addition, the council is set to provide a further £200,000 match funding to enhance the HAF programme and extend it to families who do not qualify for free school meals, so that all children and families across Gloucestershire can benefit.

Cabinet will be asked to approve plans which will allow the council to continue and build upon its successful partnership with six district lead organisations, offering a wide ranging programme including holiday activities, food, family support, nutritional education and more.

The Holiday Activities and Food programme continues to go from strength to strength, with last year’s summer offer reaching 60 per cent of children and young people eligible for free school meals. Over 16 days, 58 activity providers delivered:

  • 28,610 activity sessions and
  • 7,512 food boxes to
  • 10,073 primary school children,
  • 3,099 secondary school children and
  • 2,313 children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities.

Cllr Stephen Davies, cabinet member for children’s safeguarding and early years at Gloucestershire County Council said: “I am delighted with the success of the Holiday Activities and Food programme which is being enjoyed by more children each year.

“I am proud of the results we have achieved together with partners from across the public, private and voluntary sectors. I look forward to continuing to work with them over the next three years to make sure children are happy, healthy and entertained during the school holidays.”

More information about the Holiday Activities and Food programme is available at www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/haf.

The full cabinet report can be found here.

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