Supporting vulnerable children this summer: Holiday Activity Food Programme
Posted: Tue, 20 Jul 2021 09:25
The Summer Holidays are nearly upon us and for many people this is an exciting time as families can spend time together, get out and about and enjoy the best of the weather.
However, that isn't the case for everyone. For many families, school holidays bring with them apprehension about trying to earn a living, carry out caring responsibilities and put food on the table. In fact, 49% of parents with children on free school meals are worried about feeding their children this summer. (Food Foundation Survey, June 2021)
Those already facing inequality have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19 and whilst 6 weeks of Summer holidays is a joy for many, for others it can be a time of real hardship where inequalities become even more exacberated.
You may have seen the relentless campaigning that Manchester Utd and England footballer, Marcus Rashford MBE, has been leading to close this inequality gap and to ensure that children can eat well and take part in enriching activities during school holidays. One outcome of this campaigning is the Holiday Activity and Food Programme (HAF) whereby £220 million of Government funding has been made available to do just this.
Supporting vulnerable children in Oxfordshire this summer
Oxfordshire County Council has been leading the implementation of HAF in the county with support from many partners including Active Oxfordshire, local authorities, charities, schools and deliverers to provide opportunities and nutritious food this summer for the 11,500 children in Oxfordshire on free school meals.
Provision must include 60 active minutes each day (to meet national guidelines for physical activity), a nutritious meal, nutritional education and enriching activities for young people. The range of activities being offered by over 20 different providers includes cycling, swimming, arts and crafts, theatre and dance, team building exercises, bushcraft, first aid, music, leadership, literacy and poetry. A fantastic offer that has only been made possible by significant partnership working across the county.
Given the level of health inequality that children and families of lower affluence in Oxfordshire face this is much needed support, targeted where it is most needed, for those who can benefit most. We will leave the final word to Marcus Rashford MBE……….
"It's very important that children have activities to do during the holidays. I can only go back to my own experiences and what I would have been doing if I didn't have places my friends and I could go in a safe environment."
Marcus Rashford MBE
To find out more about how we're working to ensure that every child in Oxfordshire can have 60 active minutes, every day visit our Active 60 campaign