Camden Holiday Activities and Food Programme (HAF)

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The Camden Holiday Activities and Food Programme is a new Department for Education (DfE) funded programme of Holiday Activities for children and young people aged 5-16 years. The programme offers the children and young people eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) free access to activities and healthy hot meal on the day. Camden Council has received funding from the DfE to deliver a HAF programmes in the borough - working in partnership with the Young Camden Foundation (YCF).

Our delivery partners consist of Camden Primary Schools, community organisations and charities that work in the children and young people sector. The programme enabled a cross-sector collaboration of many organisations in Camden. The delivery expectation is ideally four hours a day, four days a week for one week at Easter, one week at Christmas and four weeks over the Summer. Six weeks per year.

Each provision will need to include at least one meal a day, which will meet school food standards, coupled with an element of nutritional education, aimed at improving knowledge and awareness of healthy eating. The activities are fun, engaging and provide opportunities for young people to try new things or do what they enjoy. Activities could include physical sports or games, as well as creative activities like music or drama and day trips. There is a strong focus on safety, wellbeing, playing and learning. All provision will follow government guidelines about the current restrictions and will be COVID-secure.

Who is eligible?

  • School aged children from Reception to Year 11 (inclusive) who receive benefits-related free school meals.
  • Children with an EHC plan (education, health, and care)
  • Looked-after children or previously looked after children
  • Children assessed by the local authority as being in need, at risk or vulnerable
  • Young carers
  • Children living in areas of high deprivation or from low-income households who are not in receipt of free school meals.
  • Children in transition phases between nursery and primary school or primary and secondary school

Camden Holidays, Activities and food programme - Booking Guide

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Money awarded in 2019 to two holiday hubs
Money awarded in 2020 to five holiday hubs
Money awarded in 2021 to 38 holiday hubs

The HAF programme over the years:

  • In 2019, Young Camden Foundation set up a new program to tackle food insecurity and inactivity during the holidays. We awarded £10,500 to two Holiday Hubs in Camden, which served meals to 74 children and young people.
  • In 2020, the Holiday Hunger programme more than doubled in size from the previous year. In partnership with Camden and Islington Public Health and the Hampstead Wells and Camden Trust, Young Camden Foundation awarded £23,500 to five Holiday Hubs in Camden, which served meals to 178 children and young people. Read HAF Report from 2020
  • By summer 2021, YCF awarded over £654K to 38 holiday hubs in Camden at 54 sites. The summer HAF programme reached 2,300 children with over 30,000 meals served.


Food shot 8

Through the HAF programme the Department for Education wants to ensure that:

  • Children and young people eat healthy food over the school holidays
  • Availability of free physical activities to be active during the school holidays
  • Have opportunity take part in engaging and enriching activities which support the development of character, and wellbeing along with their wider educational attainment
  • Children and young people are safe and not socially isolated
  • Participants to receive greater knowledge of health and nutritional benefits
  • Families to be more engaged with school and other local services during school holiday
  • Families who participate in this programme develop their understanding of nutrition and food budgeting
  • Families are signposted towards other information and support, for example, health, employment, and education

YCF Fairfields Play centre JG 38

Some Camden HAF providers will offer places to any children not receiving free school meals, who can pay to attend. Families may be eligible for tax-free childcare or the childcare costs element of Universal Credit, through which families may be able to claim back up to 85% of their childcare costs.

HAF providers ensures food meets the dietary needs of the children and families who attend. All food provided need to comply with regulations on food preparation, take into account allergies and dietary requirements (follow the allergy guidance for schools), and take into account any religious or cultural requirements for food.

All Camden HAF provisions will offer enriching activities. The aim is to develop new skills or knowledge, consolidate existing skills and knowledge, try out new experiences, and have fun and socialise.

All Camden HAF provisions will provide physical activities to ensure children and young people stay fit and active during school holidays. These physical activities are aimed to develop movement skills, muscular fitness, and bone strength. There are range of sports opportunities available such, football, basketball, tennis, table tennis cricket etc..

HAF programme participants will receive an element of nutritional education each day aimed at improving the knowledge and awareness of healthy eating. This will deliver through getting children involved in food preparation and cooking, growing fruit and vegetables, taste tests, discussing food and nutrition, and including food and nutrition in other activities.

Fairfield Playcentre ZL 36