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Food bags support vulnerable families

13 January 2023

Nearly 1200 vulnerable families were given special food bags as part of the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) Programme this Christmas.

The Take and Make bags – funded by The Department for Education - contained long-life food items worth up to £35 to enable them to prepare nutritious meals for the New Year.

They were distributed to 1178 families, while additional funding was given to larger qualifying families who participated in the scheme.

The HAF programme co-ordinated the initiative, while the bags were put together by the 70 providers who support the HAF Programme during the school holidays.

Funded by the Department for Education (DfE) – the scheme enables local authorities to coordinate access to free holiday schemes in their areas.

Eligible children were able to attend a holiday scheme for up to 16 hours between December 22 and January 3.

The programmes gave children a nutritious meal and a variety of fun enriching experiences such as sports, games, cooking and play opportunities.

Any child or young person receiving income-related free school meals was eligible. Cambridgeshire is also funding free access to families struggling financially and to recently arrived refugee families.

Families who received Take and Make bags said:

“Thank you so much - the Take and Make bags have really helped us out. It’s all stuff the kids really like. Honestly, I can’t thank you enough, not just for this but for everything.”

“Thanks so much for the food hamper that we received. It is so timely because really this whole month I've had to make hard choices to either buy food or buy fuel.”

“Thanks to the people who have collected this food and those that have donated it. I am very grateful. I was very scared on how we were going to manage this winter and feel so lucky to have accessed so much food.”

Cllr Bryony Goodliffe, Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Children and Young People Committee said: “I am delighted that we were able to help so many struggling families over the Christmas period. Imaginative, nutritious food is essential to the health and well-being of our young people and we know from the feedback that the Take and Make bags were well received. Many thanks to all the volunteers and co-ordinators who put them together.”