Holiday Activity and Food programme set to continue to 2025

Birmingham’s hugely successful Holiday Activity and Food programme (HAF) will continue until 2025 if approved by cabinet.

A grant of £8,029,880 has been given to the council by the Department for Education to continue to run the programme for a further three years.

The scheme, aimed at addressing holiday hunger, inactivity, isolation and learning loss under the banner ‘Bring it on Brum’, operated last summer and Christmas and the council is currently working with providers to put together a programme for the Easter school holidays.

With the extension of the programme the council is now looking for new delivery partners to develop, mobilise and coordinate HAF from Summer 2022 for the next three years, covering overall management and management of food provision including hot meals.

The summer programme had six weeks’ of holiday club provision, healthy food and activities for children and young people aged 5 to 16 who are eligible for free school meals and have additional needs. This resulted in:

  • 365,504 meals provided
  • 172,559 attendances
  • 32,240 individual children engaged
  • 278 holiday clubs
  • 243 holiday club providers

Children took part in a wide range of enriching activities which supported their wellbeing as well as their wider education. Parents and carers were given information about how to cook healthy recipes on a budget and signposted to local family services. Youngsters have also had the chance to carry on sports and physical activities beyond the holidays.

The smaller winter programme saw:

  • 30,500 meals provided
  • 15,000 children and young people involved
  • 189 holiday clubs
  • Over 100 club leaders trained

Cllr Sharon Thompson, cabinet member for children and vulnerable families, said: “I am delighted on the impact of the Holiday Activity and Food Programme is providing some valuable opportunities for our children and young people in the city, to ensure they have experiences that they would have missed due to a range of differing circumstances.  It is essential that such activities continue to ensure our children and young people can participate supporting both their enjoyment and wellbeing and providing much needed respite and relief to parents and carers who struggle to provide this extensive range of opportunities for their children. This innovative programme of activities has provided a lifeline to so many children and families, helping to provide a positive step forward to narrowing the gap between those who have and those who have not. I’ve said many times that fundamental inequalities need to be addressed on a long-term basis, the HAF programme has really helped worried parents and carers in the short-term across the city.”

Cllr Jayne Francis, cabinet member for education, skills and culture, said: “The HAF programme has really shown how the city can come together to support those in need. While most of us look forward to school holidays, too many families about how they will cope when their children are away from school. This is a great opportunity for youngsters to access activities and experiences which they would not have had otherwise.”

The report will go to cabinet on 22 March.

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