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19,000 vouchers distributed for Christmas fun and food programme

13 November 2023

This Christmas, the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme is offering free spaces for children in Cambridgeshire who are eligible for free school meals, to enjoy enriching experiences and nutritious food.

Approximately 19,000 HAF eligibility vouchers were sent to families this week. Vouchers offer 16 hours of access, for no charge, to a HAF scheme this Christmas, subject to availability.

This continuing initiative offers primary and secondary school children in Cambridgeshire the chance to enjoy a range of exciting experiences. With a focus on providing healthy meals alongside engaging activities, this programme is ideal for children who want to stay healthy and active this Christmas.

The HAF scheme is part of the County Council’s ‘Be Winter Wise’ campaign, which draws together a range of services, activities and offers, keeping communities across Cambridgeshire informed and prepared to stay safe and healthy during the winter months of 2023 and 2024.

Each session will include a nutritious meal, a variety of exciting activities or sports and the opportunity to socialise with other children.

Subject to availability of places, any child receiving benefit-related free school meals is eligible for the programme. The programme will run from 21 December to 3 January, with the exception of bank holidays. Eligible children can attend a holiday scheme for free for up to 16 hours.

Funded by the Department for Education (DfE), the scheme enables local authorities to coordinate free holiday childcare and enriching experiences locally.

The programme will be delivered by approved providers, co-ordinated by Cambridgeshire County Council. The Council is working with schools, childcare providers and voluntary and community organisations to deliver the programme.

As part of the programme, eligible children will be able to access:

  • Fun and entertaining play opportunities or new experiences that help children to develop their skills and knowledge.
  • At least one meal a day.
  • Guidance on increasing awareness of healthy eating, lifestyles, and positive behaviours.
  • Parents will be supported with information and signposting to other services and support which might be helpful to families.

Cllr Bryony Goodliffe, Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Children and Young People Committee, said: “I am delighted that we can continue this wonderful scheme in Cambridgeshire during the school Christmas holidays. The benefits that this programme brings runs directly alongside the work we’re already doing to educate children and young people. We hope that this will further promote the benefits of physical activity, as well as the emphasis on nutritious eating.”

Further information can be found at Cambridgeshire Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) Programme 2023 - Cambridgeshire County Council.