The government's Holiday Activity and Food programme (HAF) is being expanded across the country, to cover Easter, summer and the Christmas holidays in 2021. A fund has been made available to local authorities to coordinate free holiday provision, including healthy food and enriching activities for children who receive benefits-related free school meals. Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council are currently establishing provision of the scheme in time for the Easter holidays.
The programme requires that children can access as part of their place:
- At least one meal a day (breakfast, lunch or an evening meal) and ALL food provided (including any 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 that a cold alternative should be used.
- There should be 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.
- At least weekly advice sessions for parents, carers or other family members which provide advice on how to source, prepare and cook nutritious and low-cost food.
- Information, signposting or referrals to other services and support that would be of benefit
- Fun and enriching play opportunities and activities that provide children with opportunities to develop new skills or knowledge, to consolidate existing skills and knowledge, or to try out new experiences.
- Activities which meet Physical Activity Guidelines.
Providers will need to demonstrate that they are insured and have the relevant and appropriate policies and procedures in place in relation to: Safeguarding, Health and Safety, Equalities and SEND. Providers should be Ofsted registered, with no compliance action requirements, or legally exempt from registration. We are working with partners to develop a selection of resources that will support the food advice offer and we will contact eligible families directly to advise of participating settings.
One week of provision will be offered to children over Easter (for the equivalent of at least four hours a day, four days a week), four weeks will be offered during the Summer Holidays, and there will be a further week of provision over Christmas. Schools are in the ideal position to identify which children in receipt of free school meals would benefit most from participating in this programme as there is currently a limited number of places available. We are therefore requesting that you share relevant information with parents, targeting the most vulnerable children. A template letter for schools to send to these parents can be found here.
Registered Holiday Scheme Providers and childminders have been contacted and are currently signing up to deliver the programme. Please let us know if you have a provider you work with who would like to participate in the programme. Providers are invited to register for the scheme using the Registration Form below, where you can also find the Physical Activity Guidance for children aged 5 - 18, the School Food Standards guidance and the HAF programme poster.
We are very pleased to offer a selection of provider and family resources to fulfil aspects of the HAF programme nutritional requirements:
- There should be an element of nutritional education each day aimed at improving the knowledge and awareness of healthy eating for children.
- At least weekly advice sessions for parents, carers or other family members should be offered which provide advice on how to source, prepare and cook nutritious and low-cost food.
The resources can be found here and include:
- A HAF Food Smart Practitioner Briefing Video for sessions 1 and 2 (this offers guidance and ideas for planning activities during the holidays).
- Session 1: Provider and Family Resources for week one of the holidays (this includes an Activity Card for providers to use; a family home recipe video, two recipe cards and a further home food challenge)
- Session 2: Provider and Family Resources for week two of the holidays (this includes resources in the same format as session 1)
- Supporting Resources: Providers and Families (this includes additional resources for providers or families to use).
HAF Registration Form and useful guidance
Quality support documents for providers
For more information please contact the programme team at HAF@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.