Summer Healthy Activities and Food (HAF) programme across Devon


In November last year, the government announced that the holiday activities and food programme would be expanded across the whole of England in 2021. The programme has provided healthy food and enriching activities to disadvantaged children since 2018.

The programme will cover Easter, Summer and Christmas holidays in 2021. The programme will be available to children in every local authority in England.

The Department of Education has granted Devon County Council £1.69 million to coordinate free holiday provision over the next 12 months, including healthy food and enriching activities.


School holidays can be particularly difficult for some families because of increased costs (such as food) and reduced incomes. For some children that can lead to a holiday experience gap, with children from disadvantaged families:

  • 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

Free holiday clubs are a response to this issue and evidence suggests that they 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

Local authorities have been asked to ensure that the offer of free holiday club provision is available for all children eligible for and in receipt of Free School Meals (FSMs) in their area. This does not mean they are all required to attend as the provision is voluntary.

Devon County Council recognise and greatly value the important role that schools, community and voluntary organisations can play in delivering this programme and are 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/holiday clubs and may include developing new provision where there are gaps.

Who is this programme for?

  • children aged 5 -16 years (but can include 4 years olds already in Reception year) who are eligible for and receiving benefits-related free school meals, and their families,
  • friends of the above (if it encourages the FSM child to attend)
  • we also encourage HAF Providers to make places available to children who aren’t eligible, who can pay to attend

You can also use 15% of this funding to provide places considered as vulnerable or in need of this provision. This may include, for example:

  • children assessed as being in need
  • looked-after children
  • children with an EHC plan (education, health and care)
  • children assessed as otherwise vulnerable
  • children living in areas of high deprivation
  • children in families that are struggling due to Covid restrictions

How many days should providers offer during the Summer Holiday?

At least 4 x days per week, a minimum of 4 hours per day, for at least 4 weeks of the summer holiday.

If you request funding to offer less than that, we can be flexible as long as you can show us why you think reduced days/hours would work and how it would benefit the age group you hope to attract.

For example, if you may feel that an older group of young people (say, 13-16 years) would only access an activity for two hours later in the day, with a hot tea provided, then a visit to the cinema.

Aims of the programme

As a result of this programme, the Department of Education want children who attend this provision to:

  • eat more healthily over the school holidays
  • be more active during the school holidays
  • take part in engaging and enriching activities which support the development of resilience, character and wellbeing along with their wider educational attainment
  • be safe and not to be socially isolated
  • have a greater knowledge of health and nutrition
  • be more engaged with school and other local services

Families who participate in this programme:

  • should be able to develop their understanding of nutrition and food budgeting
  • be signposted towards other information and support, for example, health, employment and education

Who can get involved?

A long list of individuals and organisations can get involved, including – for example –

  • Early Years & Childcare Providers, Children Centres, Schools
  • Community Groups and Voluntary Organisations
  • Catering organisations including school kitchens
  • Uniformed Groups
  • Religious Organisations and Churches
  • Fire & Rescue Service, Police, Ambulance Trusts
  • Pubs, Hotels, Local hospitality organisations, meals on wheels
  • Armed Services
  • Catering Colleges and their students
  • Food banks and other Charities
  • Supermarkets and businesses
  • Unemployed and volunteers
  • Cross-border working is encouraged

Summer Schools Programme

The summer schools programme is open to secondary schools with the aim of delivering a short summer school, offering a blend of academic education and enrichment activities. Summer school provision with an academic focus has the potential to support attending pupils to make up for some of their missed education. Evidence suggests a broader benefit for families and communities, support for vulnerable children and young people, pupil mental health and wellbeing, improved education engagement and transitions, and reduced youth violence.

Whilst it is for schools to determine which pupils would most benefit from a summer school most, we expect, will want to focus primarily on pupils making the transition into year 7. HAF Programme funding could help enhance this offer by enabling older pupils to attend, particularly if they are eligible for benefit related Free School Meals (FSMs), as long as enrichment activities are provided along with a health and nutritious hot meal.

Read more information and access the Department of Education’s Summer School Guidance.


These are the standards we expect for 2021 providers.


Providers must provide at least one meal a day (breakfast, lunch or tea) and all food provided at the holiday club (including 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 a cold alternative may be used with prior agreement from Devon County Council.

All food provided as part of the programme must:

  • comply with regulations on food preparation:
  • take into account allergies and dietary requirements – see the allergy guidance for schools
  • take into account any religious or cultural requirements for food

Enriching activities

Holiday clubs must provide fun and enriching activities that provide children with opportunities to:

  • develop new skills or knowledge
  • consolidate existing skills and knowledge
  • try out new experiences

This could include:

  • physical activities, for example, football, table tennis or cricket
  • creative activities, for example, putting on a play, junk modelling or drumming workshops
  • experiences, for example, a nature walk or visiting a farm

Devon County Council will support providers to deliver a rich and varied mix of fun and enriching activities that are age-appropriate. We welcome bids that have also considered how they might encourage the continued use of fine motor skills over the holiday periods.

Physical activities

Holiday clubs must provide activities that meet the physical activity guidelines on a daily basis.

Nutritional education

Providers must include 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
  • taste tests

Food education for families and carers

Providers must include at least weekly training and advice sessions for parents, carers or other family members. These should provide advice on how to source, prepare and cook nutritious and low-cost food.

Signposting and referrals

Holiday clubs must be able to provide information, signposting or referrals to other services and support that would benefit the children who attend their provision and their families. This could include sessions provided by:

  • Citizen’s Advice
  • school nurses, dentists or other healthcare practitioners
  • family support services or children’s services
  • housing support officers
  • Jobcentre Plus
  • organisations providing financial education

Policies and procedures

There will be a wide variety of organisations and individuals involved in the delivery of the holiday activities and food programme. All of these groups must be able to demonstrate and explain the safeguarding procedures and checks that they have in place for the holiday activities and food programme.

They must be relevant and appropriate policies and procedures in place for:

Where appropriate, holiday clubs must also be compliant with the Ofsted requirements for working with children.

Full guidance (as updated on 27th April 2021) is available – Holiday activities and food programme 2021 – GOV.UK (

Interested in helping us deliver over the Summer holiday?

You don’t have to be able to provide every element.  You can work with other organisations so that you can provide the “full offer” or ask us to link you up with someone so you can add to their offer.

If you feel you can provide some of the offer but not all, let us know what you can provide and we will do our best to team you up with another provider that can complement your offer.

If you would like to help with delivering this programme in your area, please submit an Expression of Interest by 30th May 2021 at the latest.

You need to do this even if you previously submitted an Expression of Interest (for Easter holiday).

Once you have submitted the Expression of Interest form, we will forward a grant application form with guidelines, criteria and eligibility details. In summary, the process is:

  • Deadline for Expressions of Interest = 30th May
  • Summer Grant Round applications deadline = 4th June
  • Funding Panel will take place from 7th to 11th June and decisions will be made by 12th June

We are looking forward to working with all our local partners and stakeholders.

We are running some virtual workshops for potential providers and stakeholders so we can explain the process, discuss the programme framework in more detail and answer your questions – details are on the next page.

If you have any queries please email: or call the co-ordinators:

Melissa Filby – 01392 383000  or Jackie Colby –  07970 481132


Each workshop will contain the same content – we are running three workshops on different dates and at different times so that it provides everyone with an opportunity to attend.

Each workshop will include:

  • The HAF Programme – our aims and objectives and how you can help with this
  • Schedule and timeframes for the Summer programme
  • Details of the grant application, completing the form and deadlines for return
  • Information about what happens once your grant has been approved including paperwork you will receive, what needs returning etc
  • Meeting the Programme Framework
  • Questions & Answers

WORKSHOP 1 – 11:00 to 12:00 hours, Wednesday 19 May  – Click here to join the meeting

WORKSHOP 209:30 to 10:30 hours, Monday 24 May – Click here to join the meeting

WORKSHOP 3 – 17:00 – 18:00 hrs, Tuesday 25 May – Click here to join the meeting