Government funded school holiday clubs return to Northamptonshire this winter
The clubs will host activities and provide nourishing food to children from disadvantaged families across the county
A government funded free holiday club programme has re-launched in Northamptonshire this week for the Christmas school holiday period.
More than 18,000 places were booked by children and young people onto the government's 'Holiday Activities and Food' (HAF) programme that launched during the 2021 school summer holidays and now it is being reintroduced to the county for winter.
Public Health Northamptonshire and North and West Northamptonshire Councils have commissioned charity Northamptonshire Sport to deliver the programme, continuing their work during the summer.
Director of Public Health for Northamptonshire, Lucy Wightman, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Northamptonshire Sport to help to keep children and young people in Northamptonshire active and well-nourished during school holidays.
"In what’s been an incredibly challenging year, it's more important than ever to support the health and wellbeing of those children and young people who have been particularly affected by the pandemic."
The winter programme offers 11,000 places at 70 activity clubs across the county in addition to online activities.
The HAF programme is available to eligible children across every local authority in England and aims to relieve the pressure some families experience during school holidays. In particular, increased costs to cover childcare and food during holidays can cause stress.
According to Northamptonshire Sport, research shows - at holiday times - children from disadvantaged families are more likely to experience social isolation and lack of nutrition and exercise.
HAF Northants responds to the issues faced by some families by providing a programme of consistent and easily accessible enriching activities, providing nourishing food and involving children and parents in food preparation.
The holiday clubs are free of charge for young people who qualify for free school meals and those considered to be vulnerable.
Director of Northamptonshire Sport, Chris Holmes, added: “We’ve all heard about how the pandemic has impacted children and young people. Keeping active during the various lockdowns has been especially hard for our younger people. As has, accessing healthy food and maintaining a balanced diet.
"That’s why we are particularly pleased to be supporting Public Health Northamptonshire and North and West Northamptonshire Councils with the delivery of the Holiday Activities and Food Programme across Northamptonshire, ensuring some of our most impacted and vulnerable communities are helped to stay active and eat healthily”.
Northamptonshire Sport is working with local organisations to develop an extensive offer across the county. For more information on the HAF scheme in Northamptonshire please email - [email protected] or visit www.holidayactivities.org