Holiday Hunger

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.

In 2019, Young Camden Foundation awarded £10,500 for 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.


On 8 November, the UK government announced: A £170m COVID Winter Grant Scheme to support children, families and the most vulnerable this winter; and an extension of the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme, covering Easter, Summer and Christmas in 2021 costing up to £220m. This is great news and vindication of the many efforts to stop children going hungry during the holidays including, YCF Holiday Hub programme.

Young Camden Foundation, in partnership with Camden Council, have brought together a range of organisations offering free access to activities and a meal during the three main school holidays in 2021 (half terms are not covered). Activities will run over four weeks in the summer, one week at Christmas and will start with one week during the upcoming Easter break.

All the programmes include at least one meal a day which will meet school food standards. There will also be an element of nutritional education each day aimed at improving knowledge and awareness of healthy eating. Coupled with the food aspects of the schemes, fun activities will be provided with opportunities to try out new things or get involved in activities your child might already enjoy. The kind of activities will include physical sports or games, creative activities like music or drama and day trips.

There will be a strong focus on safety, wellbeing, playing and learning. All provision will follow government guidelines about the current restrictions and will be Covid-secure. In light of this our Easter provision will be a mixture of face to face and virtual sessions whereas in the summer the offer will be much broader and mainly face to face.

Because of Covid restrictions, places are limited – especially at Easter - and we expect them to book up quickly. In the summer we are hoping we can make more places available.

Please download the Camden HAF leaflet to find out where your nearest hub is and how you can secure a space or email to find out more about the programme.

Since the programme's inception in 2019...

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

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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.

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