Holiday Hunger & HAF

About holiday hunger

During the school holidays low-income families face the risk of experiencing hardship and financial pressure often resulting in food insecurity, which is exacerbated by the absence of Free School Meal (FSM) provision. We know that on average parents spend more money on food during the holidays and for some families this pressure is just too much.

The Poverty and Social Exclusion research project (PSE) conducted the largest ever study of poverty in the UK and found that more than 1 in 4 families skipped meals so that others in the household could eat. But holiday hunger extends beyond children reliant on FSM. There are three million children across the UK at risk of holiday hunger, of which two million are from working households. The challenge for low-income families during the school holidays is not just the issue of providing healthy food but also accessing affordable childcare and play provision.

ABOUT Holiay, activies and food programme (HAF)

Young Camden Foundation, in partnership with Camden Council, brought together a range of organisations offering free access to activities and a meal during the three main school holidays in 2021 (Easter, Summer, Winter -half terms are not covered). Activities started with one week during Easter and now we are delighted to offer four weeks of activities for this summer with a further week at Christmas.

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.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.

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 four hours a day, four days a week, during one week in Easter, four weeks in Summer and one week in Winter.

As we come to the end of the HAF programme with the last one taking place in December, a further 1,000 children are expected to benefit from the programme this winter.

There has been a strong focus on safety, wellbeing, playing and learning and all future provision will follow government guidelines about the current restrictions and will be Covid-secure.

Places are FREE for children and young people registered for Free School Meals (FSM), these are limited and we expect them to book up quickly. Availability will be refreshed periodically and new activities will be added so please keep checking the website.

If you are already registered for Free School Meals (FSM) you can search for and book activities by clicking on the button below:

Below you can find a guide on how to book for the Holiday Activities and Food Programme.

Book free activities here

Since the programme's inception in 2019...

Meals Served to Children & Young People
Awarded to Members
Children & Young People Impacted

HH Image


Holiday food insecurity affects young people who lose access to free school meals and other forms of support outside of school term times. In 2019, the Mayor’s Fund for London suggested that there were 700,000 young people at risk of holiday food insecurity in the city.

Holiday hunger can affect the whole family. Research has found that some parents are skipping meals to feed their children, and that an increase in household food bills can cause stress and uncertainty. This can lead to depression, poor diet and social isolation.


Programme Benefits

Additional studies of holiday provision show that programmes combining activity and food provision during the holidays can provide the following benefits:

-Reduce social isolation and increase learning

-Help parents stay in employment reducing the demand for other forms of food aid during the holidays

-Provide a reliable and essential source of nutritious food and give children opportunities to try new foods

-Alleviate boredom and reduce the likelihood that young people engaging in anti-social behaviour

-Provide a platform for inter-generational activities, creating a strong social element to the holiday clubs


YCF Members
– Learn more about setting up a Holiday Hub in Camden

Businesses and Individuals
– Learn more about supporting the 2021 Holiday Hunger Programme

Children, Young People and Parents
– Find a Holiday Hub in Camden

Please email for details.

Make a Donation