Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) Programme 2021
- Meeting of Children, Education and Communities Policy and Scrutiny Committee, Tuesday, 6 July 2021 5.30 pm (Item 6.)
This report informs the Committee of the new HAF programme 2021, with an overview of pilot delivery during Easter, and the plans for future delivery during the summer and Christmas holiday periods.
Members consider a report that highlighted the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme 2021 and provided an overview of pilot delivery during Easter as well as the plans for future delivery during the summer and Christmas holiday periods.
The Head of Early Years and Childcare Service, the Community & Partnerships Officer and Assistant Director of Education and Skills were in attendance to provide the update and answer any questions raised.
The Head of Early Years stated that:
· In November 2020, the government announced that the HAF programme would be expanded across the whole of England in 2021. The programme would be aimed at children aged 5-16 who were on free school meals so they could be supported to eat healthy and take part in enriching activities to support their wellbeing.
· York had been allocated £383,000, which was based on the January 2021 free school meal head count.
· The government had given flexibility to local authorities to treat the Easter holidays as a pilot of activities to inform a fuller delivery later in the year. A small range of Covid safe activities were offered in the Westfield and Clifton areas in line with current lockdown guidelines and 62 children engaged.
· Officers had engaged with the regional HAF network to understand good practice and a local steering group had been set up to support the coordination of a local programme and to work with a wide range of partners to achieve implementation.
· Referral processes were robust and came via schools to ensure children were identified and encouraged to participate.
· York had a rich and diverse provision of community partners and organisations and over 20 providers had been commissioned to deliver the HAF programme during the summer holidays for eligible children.
· Conversations were taking place with York’s special schools to consider if some activities for children with more complex needs could be offered.
During discussion of the item and in answer to Members questions, it was noted that:
· It was more challenging to engage older children, particularly during the summer months and officers recognised that the engagement process for this age group would require a different approach to the primary provision. Officers would draw on the experience of already existing providers who were working with secondary aged children.
· The provision of meals during activities was an important aspect of the programme and it had been challenging to find suppliers that met the national school food standards, as well as conform with the allergen requirements.
· A range of providers and partners in the city had engaged in developing ideas on how to offer provision now and in the future, with a mapping exercise currently taking place to understand any gaps across the city.
· The HEF programme would be provided across 4 weeks of the summer holidays.
Officers were thanked for their report and for the impressive work achieved in such a short space of time.
Resolved: That the report be noted and an update be provided to the Committee at a future meeting.
Reason: To keep Members updated.