South Ribble Borough Council goes the extra mile to support families during school holidays
The council has delivered over 30,000 sessions for children and young people since the scheme's inception in the Borough in 2021.
While the Holiday Activity and Food Programme (HAF) is a national, Government funded scheme which has been supporting families and children on free school meals in the school holidays, South Ribble Borough Council has invested additional money to extend the programme to support even more local people.
Called 'HAF Plus' in addition to the government funded session at Easter, Summer and Christmas, the Council has allowed for an additional 2,000 sessions to take place in February and October half terms.
Councillor Mick Titherington, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said, "As a Council, we know that lots of families are struggling, as the cost of living rises, and we know that COVID has hit many households financially as well as physically. Giving children the opportunity to try things they have never tried before, opening up our leisure centres for free access and bringing families together has given so many parents a boost and the feedback has been incredible.
"Although the government funding which enabled HAF has been invaluable, I really believe that our South Ribble programme has gone above and beyond. We said from the beginning that no child would be turned away, and we remain committed to that."
This February Half Term, the South Ribble HAF team arranged activities including swimming sessions, tennis coaching, gymnastics coaching, kickboxing and much more.
Feedback from parents for recent HAF sessions has been overwhelmingly positive:
"My daughter had a brilliant time at the panto, swimming, football and inflatables. It helped me entertain her over the Christmas holidays the first week which I wouldn't have been able to afford without the help."
"Fabulous initiative to support families during challenging times."
"I would like to take the opportunity to say how pleased I have been with the HAF programme and cannot speak highly enough about it. Both of my daughters aged 8 and 6 have used it in the summer (for the first time) and also over the Christmas break. I think it is such a wonderful scheme offered to children and something that I am very grateful for."
Councillor Titherington continued, "I am so proud that we are able to help so many families. We not only fed children, we enabled them to take apart in activities, learn skills, make friends and have memories for a lifetime.
"On behalf of South Ribble Council, we thank everyone who has stepped up and taken part. We value all of you, our trusted partners, and we hope that HAF brings our community together for the benefit of our young people."
All HAF activities can be booked online in advance by parents of children on free school meals, but if there is availability on the day all children are welcome to join in. All activities are running at venues throughout the borough, including the South Ribble Leisure Centres.
For information on South Ribble Borough Council's HAF Programme, please see www.southribble.gov.uk/haf