UK: Holiday Activities And Food Programme Expanded

The UK government’s Holiday Activity and Food Programme has been expanded to run during the summer and Christmas holidays with the backing of football super star Marcus Rashford.

A new film featuring Marcus Rashford MBE has been launched today calling on parents to sign up their children to the Government’s expanded Holiday Activity and Food Programme.

The programme has been supporting children and families in the school holidays since 2018 and was significantly expanded in light of the pandemic last year.

“It’s very important that children have activities to do during the holidays. I can only go back to my own experiences and what I would have been doing if I didn’t have places my friends and I could go in a safe environment,” said Rashford.

Funded by the Government, this year up to £220 million is available to councils across the country to run the programmes locally through holiday clubs, continuing through summer and Christmas in 2021.

The film features a holiday club at CATCH Leeds, Mandeville Primary in London and Button Lane in Manchester, Marcus Rashford’s former primary school.

Children and Families Minister Vicky Ford said, “Thousands of young people will continue to benefit from the expanded Holiday Activities and Food programme, which the Government is expanding across the whole country with investment of up to £220 million. This summer it will continue to provide nutritious food, as well as activities like arts and crafts, sport, and music, to the children who would benefit the most – especially those eligible for free school meals.

“I’m grateful for the support of Henry Dimbleby, Marcus Rashford and the Food Foundation as champions for the programme and I hope many others follow their lead. I urge parents and families to have a look at what’s on in their area for the summer holidays,” she added.

Through the programme, the Government also wants children to be more active during the school holidays and not become socially isolated.

“School holidays can be a particularly difficult time for some families due to increased food and childcare costs and reduced incomes. It can mean that families struggle to provide food and activities for children. Families who take part in the programme will also be able to develop their understanding of nutrition and food budgeting by having access to information and support,” the government said in a statement.

“The programme helps ensure that children have access to healthy food and enriching activities throughout the school holidays,” it added.

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Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.