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Food and activities programme on over the Easter holidays for families eligible for free school meals

St Helens Borough Council's Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) programme is set to return this April to support families eligible for free school meals over the Easter school holidays.


Article date: 21 March 2022

Managed by the council's Early Help service, the Department for Education-funded HAF programme will see the local authority work with a number of partners to deliver an action-packed programme of events with the aim of encouraging healthy eating and an active lifestyle.    

Running from 4-18 April, HAF has been designed to cater for the needs and interests of children and young people aged 4-18, from SEND-friendly activities and sports camps - to dance, drama and DJ workshops, as well as Easter-themed arts, crafts and games in council-run children's centres and libraries.  

On top of the fun activities on offer, each session will include a healthy breakfast, lunch, or evening meal.  

 The HAF programme in St Helens Borough first started at Easter last year which saw eligible children and young people access more than a hundred sessions delivered by providers, including council and catering services, as well as the voluntary and faith sectors. Successful summer and winter programmes then followed, with thousands of places booked up.   

One parent whose child benefitted from the recent HAF scheme over Christmas said: "Isabelle liked the singing best because she only started singing words in the summer and she gained confidence to sing on stage. Her speech and language have developed through these types of activities."  

St Helens Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Councillor Nova Charlton, said: "Programmes like HAF are a lifesaver for families in our borough, many of whom are working households that have fallen on hard times during the pandemic, not helped by the recent rise living costs and energy crisis.  

"I've had the privilege of calling in and visiting some of the events that have taken place during the past year, witnessing first-hand the quality of entertainment on offer by our local providers in safe and secure environments and the difference HAF is making in our communities, ensuring no child goes hungry.  

"One of our key priorities is to ensure children and young people have a positive start in life and programmes like this play a big part in achieving this. That's why I'd encourage eligible families to register and discover all the fun to be had."        

For more information on the HAF programme, including a full activity timetable and how to book on a session, visit:

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Last modified on 12 April 2022