School holidays can be pressure points for families due to increased costs (such as food and childcare) and reduced incomes. For some children this can lead to a holiday experience gap - with children from disadvantaged families less likely to access organised out-of-school activities; and more likely to experience social isolation and ‘unhealthy holidays’ in terms of nutrition and physical health.
The holiday activities and food programme (HAF) is a response to this. Evidence suggests that holiday activities can have a positive impact on children and young people. It also shows they work best when they provide consistent and easily accessible enrichment activities, when they offer more than just breakfast or lunch, and when they involve children (and parents) in food preparation.
HAF programme aims
The holiday activities and food programme (HAF) is funded by the Department for Education.
The aim of the programme is to make free holiday activity places available to children receiving benefits-related free school meals for the equivalent of at least four hours a day, for four days a week, for six weeks of the year (1 week at Easter, 4 weeks in the summer holidays and 1 week at Christmas). It is optional for eligible children to attend this provision.
Further guidance and support
See the downloads and website links box for information on the HAF programme, the grant process and support materials.
If families are working they may be able to get back some costs related to holiday activities. Visit the Childcare Choices website for more information.
A number of external organisations are offering resources to support HAF delivery. We do not endorse or recommend any of these but will share details on this page in case they are of interest. Details of resources from the Youth Sport Trust and Phunky Foods can be found in the downloads section. The Phunky Foods website has a selection of free resources that can be used to support nutritional education delivery.
You can find out about other organisations that might be able to support you on this page.
The HAF resource pack in the downloads section has a lot of useful information to support all aspects of your HAF delivery.
HAF bitesize sessions
HAF provider forum meetings
We support HAF providers through regular virtual provider forums. The forums are an opportunity to share information and updates, ask questions, network and share good practice. Previous provider forum notes can be viewed below.
We record forum meetings and a copy of the recording is automatically provided to everyone that attends the session via Teams. If you are unable to attend a session but would like to view the recording, please email us at HAF@bcpcouncil.gov.uk and we will send you a link to the recording.
24 May provider briefing session recording.
BCP Council summer 2021 powerpoint slides
22 June provider forum meeting notes
6 July provider forum meeting notes
20 July provider forum meeting notes
27 July provider forum meeting notes
10 August provider forum meeting notes
October half term and Christmas HAF grant information sessions - view the slides from the session here.
9 November provider forum meeting notes.
30 November provider forum meeting notes.
14 December provider forum meeting notes.
COVID-19 and protective measures
The government continues to manage the risk of serious illness from the spread of the virus and their priority is the delivery of face-to-face, high quality provision to all children.
Government guidance can be found below:
Covid-19: Actions for out of school settings
Out of school settings: COVID-19 guidance for parents and carers
It is important that providers have contingency plans in place for delivery, should provision be affected by COVID-19 outbreaks.
The latest Public Health Dorset COVID action card, which was in place for Christmas delivery can be viewed here.
If you have a general enquiry or wish to speak to someone for advice you can contact Public Health Dorset using the dedicated email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Applying for grant funding to deliver HAF in 2023
The DfE have issued 2023 guidance for the delivery of the HAF programme.
We will be taking applications for funding to deliver HAF places during the Christmas holidays. For further details, please read our grant terms and conditions, grant funding information and apply via the application form.
Please email HAF@bcpcouncil.gov.uk if you have any queries.