The new Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme is commencing in Birmingham this year, which is starting in the Easter school holidays from Thursday, April 1. We expect this to be of great interest to parents in and around Birmingham.


As you may know, following three years of successful pilots, the Department for Education has expanded the HAF programme across England, backed by £220m, ensuring multiple benefits for children, families and communities who have been hit hard by the pandemic.  Birmingham City Council will be running the largest scale HAF programme this year.  


The Birmingham Holiday Activities web-portal - (live from 5pm Thursday 1st April) will be open to all children and young people across the City and will have a wide range of over 400 free and fun activities available


School holidays can be particular pressure points for some families because of the increased costs of food and childcare, reduced incomes and the lack of free healthy meals. For some children that can lead to a holiday experience gap. Those children from disadvantaged families are less likely to access organised out-of-school activities and are more likely to experience ‘unhealthy holidays’ in terms of nutrition, social isolation and physical wellbeing. 


This year it is more important than ever that children, especially those living in areas of social deprivation, have access to best-in-class holiday programmes.  This means a well-structured day full of fun activities that enable children and young people to learn new skills, socialise with friends, and enjoy nutritious food in a safe environment. On top of this, HAF programmes also alleviate parental stress and support children in returning to school. 


The HAF offer this Easter is virtual, due to continuing COVID restrictions, so children and young people can take part in activities safely online or at home with their families. We have sent letters to all schools, foster carers, BCC members, and MPs to help promote the virtual Easter programme which is open to all young people and has been particularly highlighted to free school meal young people through the correspondence around the Easter provision of food vouchers to their families.  


The programme will include live streams of activity and play sessions, sports coaching sessions, downloadable resources and activity cards, arts and craft activities, food and nutrition advice, cook at home ideas and recipes, along with Key Stage appropriate educational programmes focusing on wellbeing, physical activity and nutrition. 


Parents will also have the option to sign up to the Birmingham Holiday Activities Programme distribution network where we will be able to share information with families about what is being planned for the summer, with more face to face delivery and a daily food offering (COVID restrictions permitting).   


If you have any questions about the Easter programme or access to the portal, please contact the team at [email protected]