Summer schemes that provide food and activities to Hampshire children who are eligible for free school meals will receive funding totalling more than £2 million, thanks to Hampshire County Council’s ‘connect4communities’ initiative and following approval from the County Council’s Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services, Councillor Roz Chadd, at her Decision Day.
On 8 June 2021, Councillor Chadd approved 108 separate grant awards totalling approximately £2.06 million. The funding comes from the Department for Education’s Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) programme, which was set up so local authorities could offer healthy food and enriching activities to children eligible for free school meals, during the 2021 school holidays.
Councillor Chadd said: “I am delighted we are able to support so many wonderful activities that will benefit Hampshire children over the summer break. The increased expense of the holidays, on food and childcare for example, can be particularly tough for parents and carers and it has been even harder this year because of Covid-19. By creating opportunities for children from families on low incomes to take part in free holiday clubs where they can have fun while a nutritious meal is also provided, we can help ensure they do not miss out on the benefits offered by organised out-of-school activities. By participating, children eat more healthily, become more active, learn new skills and socialise in a safe environment.
“Through our connect4communities programme, activity providers not only feed the children in their care but also help them and their families to develop an understanding of nutrition and food budgeting. In addition, they are able to provide information and support linked to health, employment and education.”
The aim of the HAF programme is to make free places available to eligible children for the equivalent of at least four hours a day, four days a week and for six weeks a year. This covers four weeks in the summer and a week’s worth of provision in the Easter and Christmas holidays in 2021. Organisations can also offer additional places to fee-paying families.
Nurseries, schools and sports activity providers are among the summer grant recipients and funding has been allocated across the following two grant streams:
- for childcare places in existing schemes/clubs or new schemes/clubs being proposed in priority and rural areas
- for events, short activities, innovative projects and initiatives targeting priority and rural areas, older children and young people (11-16 year-olds), and families.
Councillor Chadd added: “I would also like to thank everyone who has applied for this funding. We had a great response and that means we can support many different opportunities for Hampshire’s families. We will soon be seeking applications for the Christmas holidays, and I urge providers to look out for further announcements for the opening of that application process.”
Parents and carers wishing to find out what is on offer locally should search the Family Information and Services Hub.