What is the HAF programme?
Since 2018, the Department of Education’s (DfE) funded Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme has provided support to children in receipt of free school meals through holiday periods. Following successful pilots between 2018 and 2020, the programme was rolled out to all upper-tier local authorities in 2021 – including Devon County Council.
Research has shown that the school holidays can be pressure points for some families. For some children, this can lead to a holiday experience gap, with children from low-income households being:
- less likely to access organised out-of-school activities
- more likely to experience ‘unhealthy holidays’ in terms of nutrition and physical health
- more likely to experience social isolation
Our HAF programme is a response to this issue, with evidence showing that free holiday clubs can have a positive impact on children and young people and that they work best when they:
- provide consistent and easily accessible enrichment activities
- cover more than just breakfast or lunch
- involve children (and parents) in food preparation
- use local partnerships and connections, particularly with the voluntary and community organisation sector
Devon County Council has 18,451 eligible free school meal children living in Devon. We have been awarded £1.91million to fund the HAF programme in 2023.
Devon County Council recognises and greatly values the important role that schools, community and voluntary organisations can play in delivering this programme and is keen to work with a wide range of partners to maximise resources and opportunities in the development of a county-wide HAF programme. This will be with both existing activity schemes or holiday clubs and may include developing new provision where there are gaps.
Aim of HAF programme
Having secured funding from the Department for Education to arrange a programme of school holiday-time activities, 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 is this programme for?
To see if your child is eligible, please refer to the information for parents and carers page.
Providers can learn more about what activities are eligible for funding and who can get involved on the information for providers page.