Thousands of children from low-income households across Buckinghamshire have been treated to a feast of fun and entertainment during summer 2022.
The scheme, which is funded centrally by the Department for Education (DfE), is coordinated by locally by Buckinghamshire Council.
Experienced local holiday club providers, charitable organisations, businesses and schools have laid on a variety of quality activities and events for school-aged children who receive benefits-related free school meals to enjoy throughout the summer. At every session, the children have also been provided with a healthy meal alongside the activities.
During summer 2022 more than 15,000 places were available at clubs across the county, a 40% increase on the numbers from last year. Highlights from 2022 include outdoor adventure days, cookery schools, performing arts workshops, coding sessions and a variety of sporting activities.
Anita Cranmer, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services at Buckinghamshire Council, said: ‘I am delighted that this summer’s HAF programme has been so popular and has been bigger and busier than ever. We have tried to ensure we are able to provide a wide range of activities to suit all ages and interests. We know how difficult the long summer holidays can be for many families and schemes like this provide a real lifeline, ensuring children and young people are able to enjoy a fun-filled summer, taking part in exciting new activities, meeting new friends and most importantly – enjoying themselves in a wonderfully relaxed setting.
Once again, we are grateful to our providers who have worked so hard to put on such a varied programme of holiday clubs, our most extensive programme to date. Following the success of the HAF summer programme, early plans are now being put into place for the Christmas holidays so please look out for more information over coming months.‘
In 2022, Buckinghamshire Council has also been able to offer up to 15% of HAF programme places to other children who have been identified as being able to benefit from the HAF programme. These groups include looked after and previously looked after children, young carers and children with an education, health and care plan. The council has worked with front-line teams, schools and HAF club providers to identify and invite children from these additional groups to attend.
In addition to the HAF programme, food vouchers were distributed to eligible families on lower incomes using funding from the government’s Household Support Fund.
Places at holiday clubs were also organised across the county for Ukrainian guest children, to help them settle into their local communities and make new friends.
A series of pop-up summer celebration events with special games and workshops also visited holiday clubs during August, with Ukrainian guests and sponsor families coming along to join in the fun. In addition, free summer day care places were made available for Ukrainian guests to support with childcare for babies and children under 5.
Further information on the HAF programme can be found on the Buckinghamshire Council website at www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/haf.
*Source of article : Press release from Buckinghamshire Council.