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Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice.

Holiday activities and food programme providers

The holiday activities and food (HAF) programme is a government programme that aims to provide healthy food and enriching activities to children and young people aged 5 to16 who are eligible for free school meals. HAF is funded by the Department for Education.

Watch our HAF provider introduction presentation covering details of the programme and answering questions that organisations asked us our live Q&A section:

Holiday activity and food (HAF) programme online providers engagement event, 5 May 2021
Holiday activity and food (HAF) programme online providers engagement event, 5 May 2021

HAF sessions over holidays

Providers deliver activities over these school holidays:

  • summer
  • Easter
  • Christmas

The aim of HAF is to provide activities for:

  • 4 hours a day
  • 4 days a week
  • 6 weeks per year

Guidance suggests providers should deliver activities:

  • 4 weeks over the summer holiday
  • 1 week over the Easter holiday
  • 1 week over the Christmas holiday

This can be flexible, for example 2 days in the first week of the Easter holidays, 2 days the second week. The programme should be a varied and accessible mix of enriching activities to suit all ages, interests, needs and abilities.

Providers who can only offer fewer sessions

We welcome any days that you can provide activities for. For example, it's fine if you can only offer activities for 2 days a week for 3 weeks over the summer holidays. The only stipulation is that the sessions are at least 4 hours long. We're putting together a comprehensive programme of activities so all sessions are welcome.

We have made funding available so that you as local providers can put on enriching activities with food provided for children eligible for free school meals over the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays.

Food provided for HAF sessions

You do not have to have a kitchen on site to take part. Meals must be hot but they do not have to be prepared on site. You can arrange to have meals delivered to your venue as long as they meet the school food standards. We encourage partnerships between organisations to meet the HAF objectives.

Summer in Dorset 2021

As part of the wider HAF programme Dorset Council plans to deliver this through the Summer in Dorset programme.

We're aiming to engage with a wide network of community-based organisations, including:

  • existing holiday care providers
  • schools
  • childminders
  • sports coaching
  • creative and performing arts providers
  • many other providers

What you provide for the HAF programme

You must provider healthy meals at each session. Each activity session should last for a minimum of 4 hours a day.

All children in the Dorset Council area who receive benefits-related free school meals will be eligible to take part in the activities.

We will be awarding grants to organisations who are able to demonstrate their ability to:

  • provide high quality enriching activities
  • provide at least one nutritious hot meal a day
  • support the development of resilience, character and wellbeing along with their wider educational attainment

HAF funding grant

We pay you an average of £20 per child per session, including food. This cost will differ widely depending on:

  • age of child
  • type of activity
  • the child's needs
  • how rural the location is

We want to provide funding to as many providers as possible who meet our due diligence requirements. For those that do, we want to make sure we have a variety of offers that can cover:

  • different areas
  • age ranges
  • inclusion for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

We also want to make sure we're offering the highest quality and best value for our children and young people.

Apply for a HAF funding grant

Apply for a HAF grant

Complete our form to apply for a grant for the holiday and funding programme (HAF).

Application deadlines:

  • Friday 28 May 2021 – for summer provision
  • Friday 15 October 2021 – for Christmas provision

Activities can be open to all children. You must give priority to children who get benefits-related free school meals. Those not on free school meals can pay to attend if there are sufficient spaces. Spaces for children on free school meals will be made available at no cost to the family.

Read the Dorset HAF overview and conditions.

Read the Dorset HAF programme FAQs.

Contact Holiday activities and food programme team:

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