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 to 16 who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals. HAF is funded by the Department for Education.

HAF sessions

Grants are available to deliver activities in the Easter, summer, or Christmas school holidays.

We are looking for a range of different providers so our families have access to a varied and accessible mix of enriching activities to suit all ages, interests, needs, and abilities.

To receive a grant, you must provide:

  • a session of at least 4 hours
  • at least 60 minutes of physical activity per session
  • a healthy hot meal at each session which meets school food standards
  • a set number of places reserved for children eligible for free school meals
  • information and advice on healthy eating and lifestyles
  • an attendance data report after each holiday programme
  • feedback on how you delivered your grant, and how you spent the money

You can run sessions at any time of the day and as often as you like. For example, some providers offer activities for 2 evenings a week, others offer 5 mornings a week.

If you'd like to be part of our HAF programme in Dorset but cannot run sessions yourself, for example you're a local caterer or a travelling artist, email us to discuss.

Who can attend HAF programme

All children in the Dorset Council area who get benefits-related free school meals are eligible to take part in the HAF activities at no cost to them or their families.

It's best practice to make sure your activities are open to fee-paying families too. This promotes inclusivity and reduces stigma for the other families.

HAF provider standards

All providers must meet the minimum due diligence requirements. You will find a checklist and declaration included in the grant application form. We also ask you to sign our grant agreement before we release funding.

Email our HAF team if you'd like more information on our requirements before you start your grant application.

HAF funding grant

Grant applications for Easter 2023 are now open.

The closing date is 5pm on Monday 16 January 2023.

Applicants will be notified of the outcome on 20 January 2023.

Apply now

HAF objectives

We will award 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
  • be inclusive and make their activities accessible
  • deliver an interesting programme of food nutrition education
  • support the development of resilience, character and wellbeing of children and young people, along with their wider educational attainment
  • promote sustainable activities and strong communities in Dorset

Due diligence documents for HAF providers

All providers must meet our minimum due diligence requirements to make sure they have the correct insurances, policies and procedures in place. These include:

  • public liability insurance and employer's liability insurance
  • Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy
  • staff enhanced DBS certificates
  • Equality and diversity policy
  • Health and safety policy
  • risk assessments
  • food hygiene level 2

Contact Holiday activities and food (HAF) programme team


telephone: 01305 221157

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