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Holiday programme keeps Bucks children entertained

Buckinghamshire Council's Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme ran over the Christmas break

Buckinghamshire Council's Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme has helped put a smile on the faces of hundreds of children across the county this Christmas holiday.

The programme offered more than 5,000 activity club places and hot meals to children and young people in receipt of benefits-related free school meals throughout the Christmas holiday period.

The council worked with 26 providers of activity clubs at 42 venues across the county.

Activities on offer included family pantomime events, visiting farms, cooking, beatbox workshops, football, street dance, rugby and much more. A hot nutritious meal was also available at each club.

Families who accessed the activities had nothing but praise and thanks to share. Comments included:

"Staff were brilliant and helped my daughter feel welcome and settled. When it was time to collect, she didn't want to leave! Lots of activities going on and if she didn't feel up to the football, she was able to carry on doing art. Best holiday camp she has attended with the best staff."

"Completely overwhelmed with this service, it's made my children go to the panto, see a magician, go and do some activities and meet new friends, truly grateful, I hope this carries on in the future."

"My child loved attending the club as it has given him the opportunity to be himself and no judgement from other children that don't have SEN and disabilities. My son enjoyed everything about the club from the games, the environment, and the fantastic people that help run the club. They are all so friendly, supportive, and more importantly welcoming. As a parent it also gave me an opportunity to have a little me time and get on with a few bits. It was nice to have a breather. So, from myself and my son, thank you to all."

Anita Cranmer, Buckinghamshire Council's Cabinet Member for Children's Services said:

"I am delighted at how successful our HAF programme has been this Christmas. We wanted to make sure that the activities available would provide festive experiences for children and young people of all ages and help to make the holidays that little bit more fun and exciting for families who may be struggling. From the comments we have received I think we have managed to do just that. Well done to everyone involved."

A short video compilation of some of the HAF Christmas activities can be viewed here.

The HAF programme is funded with money from the Department for Education and coordinated by the council for Buckinghamshire. It aims to provide a range of free, high-quality activities and experiences for children in Buckinghamshire who receive benefits-related free school meals.

Families who do not currently receive benefits-related free school meals, but think they may be eligible can check online and find out how to apply.

A further programme of events is set to run through 2023, in the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays.

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