A successful summer of fun thanks to Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme in Stockport

Children across Stockport enjoyed a summer of fun and food thanks to the HAF programme.

A successful summer of fun thanks to Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme in Stockport

As the school holidays near an end, childcare providers and voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise (VCFSE) groups across Stockport are celebrating a successful summer of the HAF (Holiday Activities and Food) programme. The HAF programme has given children across the borough the opportunity to enjoy fun and food throughout the school holidays. Activities have included learning about cooking and nutrition, sports competitions as well as arts and crafts activities.

The HAF programme, which is funded by the Department for Education, allowed children in receipt of free school meals to attend for free, with paid places available for other families in need of childcare.

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Stockport once again saw its VCFSE sector come together to support their community, with many organisations getting involved in providing the HAF programme to families in need.

School holidays can be a tough time for families, with increased costs including food and childcare and a reduction in income. The borough-wide HAF programme aimed to address the ‘holiday experience gap’ and provide great activities and nutritious food to keep children safe and happy over the summer holidays.

And to highlight what has been a successful summer of fun, Councillor Colin Foster and Councillor Amanda Peers visited two providers of the HAF programme to meet with children and staff and find out more about the work that has been going on.

Cllr Foster and Cllr Peers see the food provision at the HAF programme

Councillor Foster, Cabinet Member for Children, Family Services and Education at Stockport Council, said: “I’d like to thank all of our amazing childcare providers and VCFSE organisations from across the borough for their efforts in making the 2021 HAF programme a success. The focus of the programme was to ensure that children could develop their skills and confidence by taking part in fun activities, all while getting a nutritious meal, for free. This has been a fantastic summer for many children thanks to the HAF programme and its providers.”

Councillor Peers, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Neighbourhoods at Stockport Council, added: “The HAF programme has been extremely successful in providing a wide range of good quality activities across our borough from a wide range of organisations. They have provided fantastic experiences for children and young people who may not usually have the opportunity to access holiday clubs.”

“Along with a wider summer support scheme, the HAF programme guaranteed children on free school meals a nutritious lunch and a day of safe, sociable fun. It’s just one of the ways we are working to support families this summer holidays.”

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The HAF programme ran alongside summer support vouchers for families this holidays, and an increased uniform programme that saw all secondary school students on means-tested free school meals able to claim uniform or money towards it. Support was also available from local services including Stockport foodbank and the Your Local Pantry service. To see what support is available for your family, visit: https://www.stockport.gov.uk/topic/benefits-support-and-advice.

Following the success of the summer programme, the HAF project will return across the Christmas holidays, to continue to provide children in receipt of free school meals with a free place to go to enjoy fun activities and food in the school holidays.

Families who have not yet claimed free school meals but are eligible are encouraged to complete the simple application form to ensure their children are able to claim future HAF provision and holiday support vouchers.

For further information about the HAF programme, please visit https://www.stockport.gov.uk/information-for-parents-and-carers.