Oldham offers free holiday activities and food vouchers this summer

Date published: 07 July 2022

Oldham's parents are being encouraged to book their children onto a summer programme full of fun holiday activities – with free places available for those in receipt of benefit-related free school meals.

As children prepare for their long-awaited break from the classroom, the council has announced its latest Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme which starts on Saturday, July 23.

With multi-sport camps, theatre workshops, cooking classes and a whole lot more ready to amuse our young people throughout the upcoming holidays, there’s something for everyone to enjoy before the new academic year begins in September.

Sessions are already filling up though, so the council is encouraging parents to get their kids booked on as soon as possible to benefit from this fantastic offer.

Councillor Eddie Moores, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “It’s going to be an amazing summer for the kids across Oldham and I again want to thank our local providers for helping us to put on another fantastic HAF programme.

“This is exactly the kind of fun our children and young people deserve after another long school year and I hope they all have an amazing time as part of the sessions provided.

“Our booking system is now live, so I’d encourage you all to have a look at what your children would like to do this summer and start confirming your places.”

The latest programme is free to children aged 5-16 who are in receipt of benefit-related free school meals, with every booking including a healthy hot meal for participants to enjoy.

This offer comes at the same time families with children who receive free school meals will also be receiving their summer food vouchers.

The vouchers are worth £40 and are funded by the Household Support Fund.

Council officers have worked proactively over the last few weeks to ensure as many families as possible, who have children eligible for free school meals, are registered so they not only benefit from the vouchers but free HAF places for their children too.

Schools will be issuing the vouchers from Monday (July 11), with families who have pre-school aged children set to get their vouchers direct from the council.

The vouchers are given on a per child basis, meaning a regular family of four with two eligible children would receive a total of £80 to go towards summer shopping bills at their local supermarket – a much-needed lifeline in today’s current cost-of-living crisis.

“The off-school period can be extremely challenging for families, particularly those on low income, as they manage with added food bills and childcare costs,” Cllr Moores added.

“With the support of summer food vouchers and free hot meals through our HAF programme, we can help to ensure no child goes hungry this summer.”

To check if your child is eligible for free school meals and to book onto this summer’s HAF programme, visit: www.oldham.gov.uk/HAF

Oldham’s HAF programme is funded by the Department for Education and aims to support young people to socialise with children of a similar age while they have a great time learning and playing new, fun, physical and enriching sessions.

Every child also gets to learn about healthy eating and food preparation, information they can put it into practice when they go home.

Since Easter last year, the council’s HAF programme has supported more than 8,000 children who are eligible for free school meals and has engaged with almost 13,000 children overall – with children who are not eligible for free places, still able to access sessions at a small cost through local providers.

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