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 Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme

What is the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme?

The holiday activities and food programme provides grant funding to local authorities to coordinate free holiday provision for eligible children.

Healthy meals must also be provided, and each activity session must last for a minimum of four hours a day, for at least four days a week for:

  • one week at Easter
  • four weeks in the Summer, and
  • one week at Christmas

Who the programme is for?

HAF is for school aged children from reception to year 11 (inclusive) who receive benefits-related free school meals.

Benefits-related free school meals (FSM) are available to pupils if their parents are in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits, and have a claim verified by their school or local authority. For further information see eligibility for free school meals.

Universal infant free school meals

All children in reception, year 1 and year 2 in England’s state-funded schools receive a free meal under the Department for Education universal infant free school meal (UIFSM) policy. Infant pupils who receive a free meal under UIFSM must also be eligible for benefits-related FSM to be able to access a place.

Aims of the programme

School holidays can be a pressure point for some families because of increased costs, such as food and childcare, and reduced incomes. Free holiday clubs are a response to this and is evidenced as having a positive impact on children and young people.

We want children who attend HAF 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 and
  • be more engaged with school and other local services
We also want to ensure that the families who participate in this programme develop a greater understanding of nutrition, food and healthy lifestyles. Read the full guidance from the Department of Education

How to book
Parents should receive an Evoucher for the HAF programme from their child’s school. This is sent out by the school usually by text message or email depending on the parents preferred method of communication.

Evouchers should include a code which parents will have to enter when booking any HAF activities. The Evoucher will also show a link where the parent can view providers in the area and make bookings. If parents have any difficulties booking their choice of activity, they can contact the provider directly giving them their code so they can add the booking manually.

We ask parents to ensure that the providers they have booked with are made aware of any cancellations in a suitable time scale. This allows others to benefit from the programme. 

HAF image of voucher on mobile