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Food and activities scheme on offer in Easter holidays for Cambridgeshire children receiving free school meals

Free food and activities are on offer in Cambridgeshire during the Easter holidays for children of families receiving benefits-related free school meals.

Applications for the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme, funded by the Department for Education, are now open, offering up to 16 hours of free holiday childcare or activities including sport throughout Easter, including at least one meal a day.

Free food will be provided at holiday activities in Cambridgeshire under the HAF programme this Easter
Free food will be provided at holiday activities in Cambridgeshire under the HAF programme this Easter

Cambridgeshire County Council is working with local schools, voluntary and community organisations, and childcare providers to deliver the HAF programme, which also provides guidance on healthy, low-cost eating and signposting to other support services.

More information on it can be found at cambridgeshire.gov.uk/haf. The government is due to continue funding county councils to deliver HAF schemes for the next three years.

Meanwhile, the council has agreed to extend a holiday food voucher scheme for the next year at a cost of £3.6million, as government funding for this support package is expected to end this month.

This scheme provides £15 of vouchers a week, and a total of 12 holiday weeks will be covered under the funding until February half term in 2023, meaning parents or guardians of eligible children can receive a total £180.

Cllr Claire Daunton (Lib Dem, Fulbourn) told a meeting of the council’s children and young people committee that the scheme was “even more urgently needed than ever” amid the cost of living crisis.

Cllr Alex Bulat (Lab, Abbey) said the scheme had made a “real difference” to families in the Abbey ward in Cambridge, who she represents.

In the October half term, 17,876 vouchers were claimed, while 18,926 were given in the Christmas holidays. In addition, £10,759 was provided to college students in October half term and £22,629 in the Christmas holidays.

The same criteria used in the previous rounds of the scheme will continue to be used.

Additional reporting: Hannah Brown, Local Democracy Reporter

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