Could you give local children a Christmas holiday of activities to remember?

Could your organisation, business or local group provide stimulating activities and a nutritious bite to eat for children and young people over the Christmas holidays?

If so, Buckinghamshire Council wants to hear from you today!

Through the Government's Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) programme, the Council is making grant funding available to work with local providers to help deliver a range of free holiday activities for those children aged 5 to 16 who receive benefits related free school meals.

There's no restriction on the range of activities that could be provided – it's anything that children and young people would find interesting to try, help them develop new skills or a future hobby, and are just fun to do.

Potential activities, which must be for a minimum of 4 hours, include:

  • Cooking or Christmas baking
  • Gaming and e-sports
  • Photography
  • Sports and multi-sports
  • Day trips to cinema, bowling, indoor leisure entertainment venues or pantomime
  • Drama and dance
  • Christmas parties for younger children

New ideas and suggestions are warmly welcomed.

School holidays can be a pressure point for some families because of increased costs, like food and childcare together with potentially reduced incomes. This means children from disadvantaged families may not be able to access out-of-school activities and could experience ‘unhealthy holidays’ in terms of nutrition and physical health or higher levels of social isolation.

Buckinghamshire Council is looking to work in partnership with community and voluntary organisations, creative and performing arts providers, sports coaches, schools, private companies and a range of others to help put on a fantastic range of options and healthy meals for those eligible over the Christmas holidays.

Anita Cranmer, Cabinet Member for Education and Children's Services, said this was a fantastic opportunity for those young people but also a chance for local providers to showcase what they can offer.

"We're looking to team up with local providers to offer a wide range of special and fun activities for eligible children to help them enjoy something different and productive over the Christmas break,” said Anita.

“New activities and experiences can have a profound effect on children and young people – helping them to create lasting memories, build confidence, meet new people and have fun. And of course, they don’t only get the chance to take part in quality holiday activities, but they can also enjoy a healthy meal too.”

Buckinghamshire Council strongly recommends that bids include consideration of how a programme could be made Covid-safe in the event of the national situation or government guidance requiring it.

Please visit the HAF programme website to find out more and submit a bid.

Completed bids need to be submitted by 9am on 4 October.