On 8 November 2020, the government announced that the holiday activities and food (HAF) programme will be expanded across the whole of England in 2021.
The programme has provided healthy food and enriching activities to disadvantaged children since 2018. The programme will cover the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays in 2021.
The DfE has up to £220 million available to local authorities to coordinate free holiday provision, including healthy food and enriching activities. The programme is available to children in every local authority in England.
This holiday provision is for children aged 5-16 years who receive benefits-related free school meals.
Fore more information visit the DfE website.
As a result of this programme, we want children who attend this provision to:
- eat more healthily over the school holidays
- be more active during the school holidays
- take part in engaging and enriching activities which support the development of resilience, character and wellbeing along with their wider educational attainment
- be safe and not to be socially isolated
- have a greater knowledge of health and nutrition
- be more engaged with school and other local services
We also want to ensure that the families who participate in this programme:
- develop their understanding of nutrition and food budgeting
- are signposted towards other information and support, for example, health, employment and education
We are planning Christmas HAF provision on following dates; Monday 20th - Thursday 23rd December and 29th, 30th and 31st December 2021
We would like to provide a wide range of opportunities for children and young people to engage in a Christmas offer that is within walking distance of where they live, and is a combination of:
Week 1 Monday 20 December to Thursday 23 December 2021
- A traditional holiday face-to-face provision (a holiday club) providing a range of activities throughout the day for children to engage with – mainly targeted at primary school children (aged 5 to 11) for at least four hours for four days a week per child with a Healthy meal.
- Virtual sessions and activity packs aimed at children who find face to face provision difficult to access
- A pick and mix offer targeted at young people aged 13 + to provide them with a choice of activities they can engage with Opportunities to provide children with specific skills. These could be courses in, for example, dance, music, swimming, sports coaching, youth work training, fishing, mentoring
Week 2 - Wednesday 29 December - Friday 31 December
- Pick and Mix family Activities
Complimentary Healthy Recipe Boxes will be delivered to children and young people’s homes
This Christmas we are aiming to engage with a minimum of 4,000 children eligible to free school meals - 30% of that cohort.
We are keen to provide an offer, which is inclusive of children with special educational needs, and extra funding is available to support providers to build an inclusive offer.
In addition to building inclusivity we are also keen to build our specialist offer for children with more complex learning needs or disabilities to enable us to meet all children’s needs
The DFE sets out clear framework standards for HAF providers;
Providers must provide at least one meal a day (breakfast, lunch or tea) and all food provided at the holiday club (including snacks) must meet school food standards.
Our expectation is that the majority of food served by providers will be hot. However, we acknowledge that there will be occasions when this is not possible and a cold alternative may be used.
All food provided as part of the programme must:
- comply with regulations on food preparation:
- take into account allergies and dietary requirements
- take into account any religious or cultural requirements for food
Holiday clubs must provide fun and enriching activities that provide children with opportunities to:
- develop new skills or knowledge
- consolidate existing skills and knowledge
- try out new experiences
This could include:
- physical activities, for example, football, table tennis or cricket
- creative activities, for example, putting on a play, junk modelling or drumming workshops
- experiences, for example, a nature walk or visiting a city farm
Local authorities should set out how they can support providers to deliver a rich and varied mix of fun and enriching activities that are age-appropriate. We welcome bids that have also considered how they might encourage the continued use of fine motor skills over the holiday periods.
Holiday clubs must provide activities that meet the physical activity guidelines on a daily basis.
Providers must include an element of nutritional education each day aimed at improving the knowledge and awareness of healthy eating for children. These do not need to be formal learning activities and could for example include activities such as:
- getting children involved in food preparation and cooking
- growing fruit and vegetables
- taste tests
Food education for families and carers
Providers must include at least weekly training and advice sessions for parents, carers or other family members. These should provide advice on how to source, prepare and cook nutritious and low-cost food.
Signposting and referrals
Holiday clubs must be able to provide information, signposting or referrals to other services and support that would benefit the children who attend their provision and their families. This could include sessions provided by:
- Citizen’s Advice
- school nurses, dentists or other healthcare practitioners
- family support services or children’s services
- housing support officers
- Jobcentre Plus
- organisations providing financial education
Policies and procedures
Holiday clubs must be able to demonstrate and explain their safeguarding arrangements. They must have relevant and appropriate policies and procedures for:
- health and safety
Accessibility and inclusiveness
Where appropriate, holiday clubs must also be compliant with the Ofsted requirements for working with children.
In Walsall we have 14,197 children who are on roll in Walsall schools, whose parents claim free school meals. Of these:
- 9,150 are aged 5 to 11 (primary school age children
- 4,608 are aged 12 to 16 (secondary school age children)
We have undertaken a mapping exercise to understand where children entitled to free school meals live.
As the local authority, we will be coordinating the programme. Our support will include:
- the provision of a central registration and booking portal
- access to a online portal where you can:
- see registered child/ren and their contact details, dietary requirements, SEND information, medical needs, emergency contacts
- email the parents direct to give instructions on your holiday camps
- record attendance
- communication and promotion of the programme to parents/ carers, children and young people and professionals
- central evaluation and monitoring – as a provider you will not be asked to undertake any monitoring for the programme, as this will be all done through the central portal
- a training and support workshop to help you in the delivery of the HAF programme
- help with exploring and securing additional support for your programme to ensure you can meet the children’s needs (for example, we may be able to offer additional staff to support children with a disability to be part of your provision)
- regular check-ins and problem solving throughout the programme
- one point of contact for parents with queries about the programme
Yes, we welcome applications which are a partnership between providers as this can maximise resources and opportunities.
- one provider could offer the venue and healthy food aspect, while the other provider delivers the activities
- providers can bring different skills and experiences to the programme
No, your provision can be open to all children. We would encourage providers to deliver to a range of children to ensure inclusivity and non-stigmatising.
The funding, however, will only be available to the eligible cohort. This means that other children can access the provision by paying, or if you secure additional funding from other sources.
The application will ask you for your total capacity, and the percentage of places targeted at children in receipt of free school meals (FSM).
Funding will be paid as a grant. 80% before the start of the programme (December) and 20% on completion of the programme – beginning of January 2022.
Your payment will not be impacted by the actual attendance of children.
If there is a low uptake or a low attendance of your provision during Christmas, we will be exploring the reason for this through our evaluation process.
Yes you can. If you feel that your organisation cannot deliver the full model or standards of the programme but your offer could add value, please come and talk to us.
We may put you in touch with another provider to develop a partnership bid, or explore with you how your activity could complement the HAF offer.
The costs can include anything related to delivery expenditure of your programme (for example, resources, staffing, venue, food).
We are not able to fund capital aspects of your programme (for example, improvements to the venue, new equipment).
If your programme is open to a wider group of children, we expect the request for HAF funding to ONLY reflect the proportion of your programme that will be targeted at that group. For example, if 40% of your capacity will be for FSM children, 40% of the total costs will be eligible for HAF funding
You will be expected to secure funding for non-eligible children through providing paid places or other sources of funding.
As the local authority is undertaking the central administration and coordination of the programme we expect that your administration costs are kept to a minimum, and focus on the delivery of the programme.
Providers will be able to draw on additional funding to support children with additional needs as part of their provision e.g. for additional staffing. We are also able to help you source additional skilled staff to help you with supporting children with additional needs.
If you are not interested in providing a holiday programme but your building or venue is available through the summer, would you be interested in partnering with providers who would like access to a building?
If you are interested please email us: WR4C@walsall.gov.uk
The DfE require us to utilise volunteers where possible.
In partnership with One Walsall, we are now recruiting volunteers for the summer to help us:
- pack food and activity packs
- deliver food and activity packs to a family’s home or to collection locations
- deliver fun and enriching activities to children across the Borough (DBS checks needed for this role)
- promote uptake and engagement with the activities across the Borough (this may be through presentations at school assemblies, or by making telephone calls to remind parents of activities and how to sign up)
We will offer flexible volunteering opportunities.