The winter school holidays can be hard to juggle because of increased food, energy and childcare costs, work, and the added festive commitments.
Buckinghamshire Council offers a range of support for children and their families during the school holidays, including food vouchers, holiday clubs and hot meals for eligible families. There is also support available to help families in need this winter, including those not already receiving support.
Free digital food vouchers for eligible families
What digital food vouchers are on offer?
Buckinghamshire Council’s Helping Hand scheme provides eligible families with a digital food voucher code to use during school holidays.
- Christmas Holidays = £30 voucher code
You are eligible to receive the vouchers if your children receive:
- free school meals
- early years’ pupil premium
- a 2-year-old funded free education place
These digital voucher codes will be issued directly by schools ahead of the school holidays. The vouchers can be used in most major supermarkets in Buckinghamshire and instructions will be provided by schools when vouchers are issued.
This scheme is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions Household Support Grant. View more about free digital food vouchers.
Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) Programme
HAF offers free Easter, Summer and Winter holiday activities and healthy hot meals to children in Reception to Year 11 who receive benefits-related free school meals.
What activities are on offer?
- thousands of free HAF holiday club places
- holiday club places in over 45 locations across Bucks
- a range of high-quality activities for all ages and interests including day trips, sports, dance, cookery and more
- each child or young person can attend up to 4 HAF sessions over the Christmas holidays
- a healthy hot meal or a suitable alternative is provided at each activity
Eligible pupils will receive an email or text message from HolidayActivities.com which will contain a HAF voucher. Find out more and how to book onto HAF clubs on our HAF booking page.
The HAF programme is funded by the Department for Education and coordinated by the council.
View more information on the HAF web pages.
Holiday support, free and low-cost activities
There is support and free or low-cost activities available to all families during the school holiday including those not eligible for free school meals.
If you're struggling to afford or access food:
- the Helping Hand team can offer support and refer you to a local food bank
- search the Buckinghamshire Online Directory for organisations in your area who can provide emergency food support, including local food banks. Many of these organisations provide food and meals during the school holidays
- view the kids eat free offers
There are free 'feeding your family during the school holidays' courses available on:
- 5 and 12 December at Quarrendon Adult Learning Centre, Aylesbury
- 4 and 11 December at St Andrews Church, High Wycombe
Find out if your eligible and book your free place online or call or text 07977 155 937.
Find out more about the wider cost of living support available:
Search for all school holiday activities and things to do near you on our directory.
Our Family Information Service web pages and directory include information on local activities, and attractions including free or low-cost options:
- school holiday activities
- free and low cost activities
- things to do
- free activities
- discounts for families
- parks and outdoor spaces
- country park events
- childcare and holiday clubs
- tips to keep school holiday costs down
- kids eat free
- Help for Households free activities map
View free and low cost activities outside of Buckinghamshire on Visit England's guide.
Leisure centres across Bucks have a wide variety of activities taking place:
- family swimming sessions
- swimming crash courses at Swan Pool in Buckingham
- soft play at Swan Pool in Buckingham, Chesham leisure centre, Chilterns Lifestyle Centre in Amersham
- adventure climbing at Wycombe leisure centre, Chilterns Lifestyle Centre in Amersham
Find your local centre and see what’s on.
Explore the great outdoors right here on your doorstep, using the free and interactive Love Exploring app. There's a range of games to play, activities and guided trails to do throughout the year, when visiting parks and open spaces around the county.
Search Love Exploring in your app store to start exploring.
From stately homes to ancient monuments, Buckinghamshire has many historic buildings and places of interest to discover.