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Don’t miss out on free activities for children this summer

Hampshire County Council is reminding parents that some free spaces are still available for children on several activities and food schemes being run this summer holiday (26 July to 1 September 2021).

A wide range of activities are on offer for all ages – from dance and theatre workshops to sports and outdoor programmes – which also provide a nutritious meal. There are free spaces available for children who receive benefits-related free school meals as well as places on a paid-for basis.

Councillor Roz Chadd, the County Council’s Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services, said: “I am pleased that so many Hampshire children will be taking part in these activities and food schemes over summer. Spaces are going quickly, so I would urge parents to act now to secure a free place.

“These schemes can be of enormous help to children from families who are facing financial difficulties. School holidays can be challenging because of the added expense of food and childcare, as well as reduced incomes – especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. This means some children are less likely to access organised out-of-school activities and can miss out on the social and health benefits. By taking part in a free holiday club where a nutritious meal is provided, children get to have the same rich experiences as many of their friends and peers.”

The Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) programme is funded by the Department for Education. Local authorities are using the funding to organise schemes that offer healthy food and enriching activities to children eligible for free school meals during the 2021 school holidays.

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 would cover four weeks in the summer and a week’s worth of provision in the 2021 Easter and Christmas holidays.

The grants issued for the summer holidays have contributed to existing or new schemes/clubs in priority and rural areas, or to events, short activities and innovative projects targeting priority and rural areas, older children and young people (11-16 year olds) and families.

Parents and carers who want to find out what is on offer locally can search the Family Information and Services Hub.

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