Kids holiday activity scheme is top of the menu with local celebrity chef

Celebrity chef and local restaurateur Tom Kerridge visited one of Buckinghamshire Council’s Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) clubs today to see how local harder-pressed families are being supported over the summer.

At the holiday club being run at Beechwood Academy School in High Wycombe, Tom not only saw how the HAF programme is benefitting local children and their families, he also gave his young audience a masterclass in making simple, healthy coleslaw!

Funded by the Government, and run by Buckinghamshire Council in collaboration with local providers, the HAF programme offers thousands of free summer activity club places, together with a healthy meal, to support those families across the county receiving benefits related free school meals. Youngsters get the chance to have a go at a wide range of activities from sport, dance and drama, to art, cookery and much more.

With child food poverty a cause close to Tom’s heart, he was keen to lend his support and see a HAF holiday club in action for himself.

Speaking after his visit Tom said: “I was really delighted to be invited to today’s session to see how the Buckinghamshire HAF programme is supporting families that perhaps have more struggles to deal with day to day than others. It was great to see the kids having fun, getting involved and having something good to eat – including my coleslaw, which went down well with the children!

“Kids need healthy meals, and contrary to what people think, cooking tasty meals can be done simply and at low cost. That’s really why I started the Full Time Meals campaign with Marcus Rashford, to give children and families the skills and confidence to cook good, proper food in their own kitchens, using basic ingredients and whatever equipment they have to hand.”

Julie Ward, Deputy Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, commented:

“We’re thrilled to have this show of support from such a big name – it was fantastic that Tom was able to visit the holiday club today and see how our HAF programme is a force for good for local families most in need of help.

“It’s a key priority for us to make sure our families have a good foundation of support all year round, and we are so pleased to see that holiday sessions are being well used by eligible families who might otherwise struggle with some of the essentials. This way, local children who are supported during term time with free school meals can get access to healthy food in the summer holidays too and enjoy some brilliant holiday experiences.”

Rob Sherwood from Get Active Sports, who are running the holiday club at Beechwood Academy School, said:

"Get Active are proud to be offering this incredible opportunity for the local community at Beechview. The support we have received from Buckinghamshire Council has ensured that every child in the community gets the opportunity to enjoy fun and engaging activities, whilst also helping to educate children on a healthy lifestyle.”

Families can still book places for eligible children on the HAF programme, where places are still available. Please visit our website for more details.

Tom Kerridge at one of the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) clubs in High Wycombe

Julie Ward, Deputy Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, Ryan and Rob from Get Active Sports, and Tom Kerridge at one of the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) clubs in High Wycombe.