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Free holiday activities and meals for children aged 0 to 18 years old

Last Updated 3:00pm, 1 April 2021


What is the 'Holiday Activities and Food Programme'?

We have secured funding from the Department for Education to arrange a programme of school holiday-time activities for 2021.

Devon County Council is working with local providers to coordinate a programme of free activities and healthy meals for the school holidays for children and young people.

The aim of the scheme is to support children to eat more healthily, be more active over the school holidays and have a greater knowledge of health and nutrition as well as be more engaged with school and other local services.

The children who take part will enjoy fun and enriching activities in a safe and sociable environment and have the opportunity to develop new skills or knowledge and try out new experiences. This could include physical activities such as football, table tennis or cricket; creative activities, for example, putting on a play, junk modelling or drumming workshops or other experiences like a nature walk or visiting a farm.

At least one meal per day will be included and the children will improve their knowledge and awareness of healthy eating.

The scheme aims to help families develop their understanding of nutrition and food budgeting.

Who can access the scheme?

The scheme is available to all children aged 0 to 18 years old who:

  • receive benefits related Free School Meals
  • have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities
  • have an Education, Health and Care Plan
  • have an Early Help Plan
  • is a Child in Need
  • is a looked after child
  • is excluded from education
  • is a young carer
  • is living on low income due to the COVID-19 pandemic (but isn’t in receipt of benefits)
  • has a member of their family with mental ill health.

They can also bring a friend who does not need to meet any of the eligibility criteria.

Please note that not all activity providers will be able to accommodate all children and young people aged 0 to 18 years old. Activity providers will specify what age group is appropriate to their activity.

If your child is not eligible for the scheme, you can find other holiday childcare on Pinpoint.

How to book

Booking details differ depending on each provider, so will be made available alongside the programme timetable which will be published on this page ahead of the school holidays.

Why are the activities only in some locations?

We invited a range of Devon-based accredited activity providers to begin to build on this programme in Devon. Those activity providers working with us on the holiday programme provide activities in those areas. Our aim is to have more activity providers working with us for the summer and Christmas holidays and therefore hope to be offer activities in more locations across Devon. If you would like to attend but lack of transport prevents you, please contact the activity provider for more information.

Is transport provided?

As above, we would encourage you to make your own way to the activity, but if you do require assistance with transport, we can help arrange it via the provider you have chosen.

Will meals and refreshments be provided?

Yes they will.  A healthy meal will be provided each day of the activity.

If your child has a food allergy or special dietary requirement, or if you have a question about the meal, please can you speak to the activity provider. Contact details for the activity providers are on these webpages.

Who is providing the scheme?

Devon County Council in partnership with the Department for Education is working with local accredited providers to coordinate the programme of free activities and healthy meals. They include:

  • Childminders
  • Schools (infant, junior and secondary)
  • Church groups
  • Food banks
  • Food providers and hospitality services
  • Forest schools
  • Early Years (nurseries, pre-schools)
  • Special Needs providers
  • Youth groups
  • Sports Clubs
  • Farms
  • Youth hostels and outward bound providers.

We have partnered with established Devon firms with experience of running activities for children and young people. Their staff and volunteers who will be working with the children are DBS checked.

What sort of activities are included?

The activities on offer will differ depending on the provider working in your area and could include:

  • A selection of sports (including rugby, football, netball)
  • Forest school/outdoor activities such as den building, cooking on an open fire
  • Arts and crafts
  • Music, drama and dance
  • Scooting and skateboarding
  • Orienteering and outward bound activities
  • Cooking classes and activities
  • Food boxes and activity boxes.
  • Virtual online sessions

Does my child need to bring anything?

Just themselves, a smile (hopefully!), and appropriate clothing for the activity. 

If the activity is outdoors, please remember to bring a waterproof coat. If for some reason your activity is cancelled due to wet weather, the activity provider will endeavour to contact you at the earliest opportunity to let you know.

Are all the activities and venues COVID-secure?

Yes, all activities and venues have been fully risk-assessed and public health measures will be in place.

Staff and volunteers must report a negative coronavirus test prior to the activity.

A lot of the activities are outdoors, but some are indoors. Staff, volunteers and young people are asked to wear face coverings when indoors in a public place. Windows will be opened to increase ventilation. Social distancing will be in place and hand washing facilities/hand sanitiser will be available.

If you have any concerns, please speak to the local provider about what measures they have in place to help keep everyone safe.

My child has a disability, can they still take part?

If your child requires assistance for the activity, the parent or carer may be welcome to attend or the activity provider may offer extra support for your child. Please contact them to discuss further. The providers on offer include those experienced in working with children and young people with SEND and are therefore appropriately trained to support children with a disability or additional needs.

Other support

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic is continuing to put a huge strain on some families.

To find out more about what support is available in Devon, including how to access local financial support, where to find foodbanks and community larders, free meals during the school holidays and what to do if you’re on a low income and need to self-isolate, please see our page about the support that is available for families.