Isle of Wight Council

06 Oct 2022

Step up to prevent school holiday hunger

The Isle of Wight Council is looking to identify more organisations that can help families facing hardship across the Island — calling for them to apply for a place on its list of approved Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme providers.

The HAF programme provides enriching activities and healthy food to some of the Island's most vulnerable children during the Easter, summer and Christmas school holidays.

The programme, part of the council's connect4communities programme, is set to enter its third year and is inviting applications from providers to be able to run HAF schemes in 2023.

Local organisations, voluntary and community groups have until 4 November 2022 to apply. 

Councillor Debbie Andre, Cabinet member for children's services, said: "With the cost of living on the rise, we are keen to encourage more organisations to join the HAF scheme to reach as many families and their children as possible.

"School holidays can be particularly difficult for families because of increased costs, such as food and childcare and reduced incomes.

"This means some children and young people are less likely to access organised out-of-school activities and can miss out on the social and health benefits of such activities.

"By taking part in a free holiday club where a nutritious meal is provided, children who might otherwise miss out, get to enjoy the same enriching experiences as many of their friends and peers.

"I would like to thank all our current providers for their hard work and dedication to the scheme and would encourage other Island organisations to apply for a place on our network of approved providers and help make a positive impact during these challenging times."

Earlier this year, the council extended its HAF programme by another three years to 2025, after receiving additional funding from the Department for Education which funds the programme nationally.

The programme makes free spaces available to eligible children who receive benefits-related free school meals. As well as enjoying hot nutritious meals, children are encouraged to be active by participating in sports and spending time outdoors, and to engage in a range of enriching activities such as arts and crafts, and free play.  

Organisations interested in helping to deliver the programme in their local area next year can bid to become a recognised provider on the council’s framework. Those already on the framework do not need to reapply.  

The council will tender for next year’s full HAF programme in early 2023.

If approved, organisations will then be able to apply to deliver activities over Easter, summer and Christmas.

Suitable organisations include schools, childcare providers, community organisations, as well as sports coaching and outdoor education providers. The council is particularly keen to hear from organisations that can provide services to older school children.  

Virtual information sessions are being held about the framework on the following dates and organisations are invited to attend to find out more. To book onto your chosen date, please use this booking link.

HAF Framework Information sessions 
• Monday 10 October, 3.30pm to 5pm. 
• Thursday 13 October, 6pm to 7.30pm. 

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The council will tender for next year’s full HAF programme in early 2023
The council will tender for next year’s full HAF programme in early 2023
Factfile
  • The HAF programme provides enriching activities and healthy food to some of the Island's most vulnerable children during the Easter, summer and Christmas school holidays.
  • The programme, part of the council's connect4communities programme, is set to enter its third year and is inviting applications from providers to be able to run HAF schemes in 2023.
 
Isle of Wight, UK