Hampshire County Council is encouraging parents to act quickly if they want a free space for their children. On one of the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) schemes being run this Easter holiday (29 March to 12 April).

From sports skills and learning to cook to arts and craft sessions, there is a wide range of activities on offer. Which also include a wholesome nutritious meal. Free spaces are available for children receiving benefits-related free school meals during term time and other vulnerable school-age children, as well as places provided for other children on a paid-for basis.

Hampshire County Council’s Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services, Councillor Edward Heron, said: “I am delighted that we can offer so many activities and food programmes. With free spaces, this Easter holiday as they can make a huge difference to children from families who are struggling financially. Increased costs, such as food and childcare. Can make school holidays especially tough for parents and carers. By taking part in a free holiday club where nutritious meals are provided. Children whose families are under pressure get to have the same rich experiences as many of their friends and peers. Spaces are filling up quickly, however, so I encourage families to book early to avoid disappointment.”

The Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme is funded by the Department for Education. Local authorities use the funding to organise schemes that offer healthy food and enriching activities. To children eligible for free school meals during the school holidays.

The aim of the HAF programme is to make free places available to eligible children. For the equivalent of at least four hours a day, four days a week and for six weeks a year. This would cover four weeks in the summer and a week in both the 2024 Easter and Christmas holidays.

The upcoming Easter itinerary follows a successful Christmas programme. Which saw over £400,000 awarded to HAF providers and 4,676 individual children taking part across the county.

Parents and carers can find out what is on offer locally by searching the Family Information and Services Hub.