HAF Programme

Introduction to HAF

On 27 October 2021, the Department for Education (DfE) announced a further 3-year extension of its national Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme for reception aged children to year 11 age children inclusive, who are eligible for benefits related free school meals (FSM). Local programmes must include hot food, physical activities, and enrichment activities. The programme will run during key school holidays Spring, Summer, and Winter, but not in half terms.

Stoke-on-Trent HAF

Stoke-on-Trent City Council (SOTCC) has commissioned The Hubb Foundation (THF)- to undertake the co-ordination of the programme.

School holidays can be pressure points for some families because of increased costs (such as food and childcare) and reduced incomes. For some children that can lead to a holiday experience gap – with children from disadvantaged families less likely to access organised out-of-school activities; more likely to experience ‘unhealthy holidays’ in terms of nutrition and physical health; and more likely to experience social isolation. We know that returning to school in poor physical and mental condition can have a detrimental impact on children’s mental and physical wellbeing, as well as their educational attainment.

Frequently asked questions

Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) is a Department for Education (DfE) funded programme


It provides physical and enrichment activities and healthy food to children aged 5 to 16 years (including 4-year-old children enrolled in reception at Stoke-on-Trent schools) who are eligible for benefits related free school meals (FSM).

The 2024 programme runs through the Spring,  Summer (Wednesday 24th July – Sunday 1st September) and Winter school holidays.

This holiday provision is for school aged children from reception to year 11 (inclusive) who receive benefits-related free school meals, and attend a Stoke-on-Trent School.

Benefits-related free school meals (FSM) are available to pupils if their parents are in receipt of one of the qualifying benefits, and have a claim verified by their school or local authority. 85% of the overall attendance must be eligible for FSMs

Apply for free school meals – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Universal infant free school meals

All children in reception, year 1 and year 2 in England’s state-funded schools receive a free meal under the Department for Education (DfE) universal infant free school meal (UIFSM) policy.

Infant pupils who receive a free meal under UIFSM must also be eligible for benefits-related FSM to be able to access a place on the HAF programme.

Other children and families

Additional funding can cover provision of free or subsidised holiday club places for children who are not in receipt of benefits-related free school meals but who the local authority believe could benefit from HAF provision.

This may include, for example:

children assessed by the local authority as being in need, at risk or vulnerable

young carers

looked-after children or previously looked after children

children with an EHC (education, health and care) plan

children who have low attendance rates at school or who are at risk of exclusion

children living in areas of high deprivation or from low-income households who are not in receipt of free school meals

children in transition phases between nursery and primary school or primary and secondary school

(The above eligibility is subject to change, in consultation with the Department of Education.)

This list is not exhaustive, and it is open to the local authority to decide which children should benefit from the 15% flexible funding of total session attendance element of their HAF funding.

DfE Guidance: Holiday activities and food programme 2024 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Check if your child is eligible for Free School meals.

If you are a parent or carer of a school aged child who attends a Stoke-on-Trent school, who wants to check if your child is free school meals eligible.

Providing them access the HAF programme in Stoke-on-Trent, please either speak with your child’s school or complete the online eligibility checker on Stoke-on-Trent City Councils website-

Free school meals | Free school meals | Stoke-on-Trent

As a result of this programme, The Department for Education want children who attend this provision to:

eat healthily over the school holidays

be active during the school holidays

take part in engaging and enriching activities which support the development of resilience, character and wellbeing along with their wider educational attainment

be safe and not to be socially isolated

have a greater knowledge of health and nutrition

be more engaged with school and other local services


The Department for Education also want to ensure that the families who participate in this programme:

develop their understanding of nutrition and food budgeting

are signposted towards other information and support, for example, health, employment, and education

The holiday projects we wish to coordinate will help achieve the following outcomes for reception aged children to year 11 aged children (4–16-year-olds)

1. To eat more healthily over the school holidays.

2. To be more active during the school holidays

3. To take part in engaging and enriching activities which support the development of resilience, character, and wellbeing along with their wider educational attainment; to be safe and not to be socially isolated.

4. To have greater knowledge of health and nutrition and to be more engaged with school and other local services.

The DfE has outlined a Framework of standards for the HAF programme.

The Hubb Foundation will ensure standards are met across the programme and session delivery; we will support local providers who wish to offer the programme but do not meet all the delivery standards. Enabling a varied approach of delivery and funding models to ensure partnerships, support and training is given to these providers.

Essential Delivery Standards

• Each session should ideally run for 4 hours per day (*shorter sessions will be considered for older young people ages 12+ & SEND provision or where not practically possible)

• Each session must include a hot meal where practically possible



Providers are required to facilitate physical activities daily that meet the Physical Activity Guidelines, set out by the United Kingdom’s Chief Medical Officers’ Report for a minimum of an hour.

Holiday clubs must provide activities that meet the https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/physical-activity-guidelines-uk-chief-medical-officers-report

physical activity guidelines on a daily basis.

In line with those guidelines, we expect:

*All children and young people participating in the HAF programme should engage in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for an average of at least 60 minutes per day

*Children and young people participating in the HAF programme should engage in a variety of types and intensities of physical activity to develop movement skills, muscular fitness, and bone strength

*Children and young people should aim to minimise the amount of time spent being sedentary, and when physically possible should break up long periods of not moving with at least light physical activity

*Meeting the physical activity requirement does not have to be in the form of a structured activity session, but might include active travel, free play and sports.


Providers are required to facilitate fun and enriching activities that provide children and

young people (and in some instances their families) to:

  • Develop new skills or knowledge.

  • Consolidate existing skills and knowledge.

  • Try out new experiences which could include creative activities, for example, putting on a play, junk modelling or drumming workshops or experiences.

We expect all HAF providers to provide a balanced programme. For providers whose primary focus is set around a specific activity or sport, we expect them to ensure that children attending their provision benefit from a holistic and varied experience

Increasing awareness of healthy eating, healthy lifestyles, and positive behaviours

We expect providers to incorporate helping children to understand more about the benefits of healthy eating and nutrition into their programme. These do not need to be formal learning activities. This could include:

getting children involved in food preparation and cooking.

growing fruit and vegetables

taste tests

discussing food and healthy eating during mealtimes

including food and nutrition in other activities

Offering positive learning and development through HAF activities creates stigma-free opportunities to support children and young people in learning about healthy lifestyles and exercise. This could cover, for example, the use of vapes, cigarettes, drugs, and how this can lead to issues including:



personal safety




Providers are required to provide information, advice, guidance, signposting or referrals to other agencies, services, organisations, or networks of support which benefit the children (and their families) who are attending the Providers activities. This could include:

  • Citizen’s Advice

  • Child Health and Wellbeing Services, School Nurses, Dentists or Other Healthcare Practitioners

  • Family Support Services and/or Children’s Social Care, Housing Support Officers

  • Jobcentre Plus

  • Organisations providing financial education, information, advice and Guidance

Food Provision

Each venue is required to provide a minimum of one meal a day. This could be Breakfast, Lunch or Tea/Dinner.

All Food (including snacks) provided through the activity must meet.

the School Food Standards, developed through the Department of Education.

Most of the food served through the Programme should be hot where possible. There may be exceptional circumstances where a hot meal is not possible, and a cold alternative may be appropriate.

Food provided through the Programme must:

  • Comply with appropriate Legislation, Regulations, Policies, Procedures and Guidance in relation to food preparation.

  • Take into consideration allergies and dietary requirements.

  • be a provided by a registered food business.

  • Meet school meal standards.

  • Consider any religious or cultural requirements for food.

Providers can view the School Food Standards on the Government’s website. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/standards-for-school-food-in-england

Food standards including hygiene and food standards qualifications and allergy information etc is the sole responsibility of the provider. Allergy awareness and cultural options should always be available, this is the responsibility of the provider.

From October 2021, Providers need to be aware of and adhere to the new the requirements of the UK Food Labelling reform known as Natasha’s Law.

Co-Ordination/Delivery Model options

In Stoke-on-Trent we have found that there is no one single solution that works for everyone. Just as there is a need for unique local delivery providers, each community has its own needs and the best approach for the community it serves.

We welcome expression from providers to deliver Full provision where all DfE’s framework of standards of delivery can be provided by school or delivery provider.

Or Partial (can provide some elements of standards) provision -The Hubb Foundation will coordinate through Partnership (working alongside other organisations) to provide elements to compliment and to fulfil delivery standards at each session. (Shown in Joint approach model detailed below)

School/community venue led.

School/Community staff deliver all activities.

Food is produced on site at the school/community venue.

Sessions are promoted and booking made by the venue through own system or utilising coordinate sport platform.

Provider led

Providers lead sessions from school or community facilities

Food provided by provider or external catering company.

Sessions are promoted and bookings taken through provider system or coordinate sport platform.

Joint approach

School/Community host the activities.

School/venue staff and local activity providers deliver session activities between them jointly.

Food externally provided or produced onsite by venue or provider.

Promotion done through both the school/community and delivery partner

We have found the Joint-delivery Model as the most impactful, with venue staff & external activity providers offering a variety of activity to meet the needs of young people. & meals being supplied through a third-party catering partner.

We welcome expression to provide sessions which can be classed as either closed (school offering places for their pupils only to access) or Open (i.e., community groups/schools identifying signposting and inviting Children & Young People from local community to attend).

How does the funding work?

Similar to the delivery model approach, we recognise a flexible approach is required to work with partners to achieve the required delivery. that not one single solution works for all.

Method approach A pre-agreed hourly rate (approx. £25 per hour) is in place between provider and the Hubb Foundation. Ratio is agreed proportional to the number of places available in your provision. & made up of both venue &/or core provider. Funding can also cover venue hire, material, and equipment costs. This works effectively with Joint Delivery approach. The Hubb Foundation will work closely with partners when coordinating this approach to ensure size of programme is proportionate to previous delivery performance,

Performance approach – In circumstances where providers are proposing to deliver all (full programme) or most of the delivery standards themselves, funding can be awarded via a pre-agreed per head cost (amount determined in proportion to the level of delivery). This model is paid on performance- linked to number of eligible places booked and then the actual attendance at the service session(s).


Along with evidence of required policies and procedures, partners will be sent a copy of our Partner Agreement prior to the provision to read and sign. This includes a data processing agreement, our SLA, payment terms, etc. Within this agreement, there is also information relating to minimum standards on health & safety, food provision, safeguarding, policies, etc.

There are several deliverables (such as booking forms, marketing steps, and attendance records) which must be completed for each event. Further details of this will be provided in our ‘Partner Handbook’.

Programmes can be led by a range of organisations from across the public, private and community and voluntary sectors. To become an approved provider, partners must be able to meet minimum operating standards, sign up and adhere to a service partner agreement and can meet the objectives of the programme.

We are actively inviting expression of interest from partners to work with us to deliver the Summer HAF 2024 programme in Stoke-on-Trent. 

For the Summer 2024 school holidays, Stoke-on-Trent City Council (SOTCC), and The Hubb Foundation (THF) will once again join forces to deliver healthy food alongside physical and enrichment activities. Stoke-on-Trent’s Holiday Activity Programme. It supports reception aged children to year 11 age children inclusive, who are eligible for benefits related free school meals, who attend a Stoke-on-Trent school during the school holidays.

The Summer delivery period in Stoke-on-Trent falls across a 6-week period as follows:

Week 1: w/c 22nd July

Week 2: w/c 29th July

Week 3: w/c 6th August

Week 4: w/c 12th August

Week 5: w/c 19th August

Week 6: w/c 26th August (*Monday 26th is public bank holiday) 

Providers can express to provide a maximum of 16 sessions per venue (based on providing up to 4 hours for 4 days a week)

For community-based programme’s

To express your interest please contact us via records@thehubbfoundation.com to request a copy of our Expression Of Interest form.

Once completed, return to records@thehubbfoundation.com

For any questions regarding the EOI please contact our Operations Manager

Tom Beecham


07814 742157

For schools

If you are a school seeking to lead a HAF programme, please contact our School Relationship Manager to discuss.

Tana Owen


07921 452005

We are also seeking expressions from activity providers only (to be placed as an activity within sessions), classed as enrichment activities, to support our HAF programme, but who don’t want to lead their own programmes.

To be considered as a HAF enrichment provider please complete the following link –

Holiday Provision Expression of Interest Form for Activity Providers (google.com)

Deadline for submitting ALL expressions is by 5pm on Wednesday 8th May.

Once you have expressed, all applications will be reviewed and assessed by Monday 13th May to ensure they meet the HAF delivery standards.

EOI applications will be reviewed and access on a number of criteria-

Compliance Checks

Previous delivery experience 

Quality of programme & activities

Number of places

Food provision

Delivery Location/s

Value for Money

Decisions to be confirmed w/c 13th May

Following the review of your applications, The Hubb Foundation will be in touch to confirm with provider or review programme delivery further.

Coordination meeting between The Hubb Foundation and potential HAF providers to finalise programmes, will take place between 13th May – 29th May 2024.

Please note – New Providers must be able to meet minimum operating standards and sign up to a partner agreement before being considered as a HAF delivery partner.

  1. Eligibility: the provision is aimed at free school meal eligible (income related or universal) children, this cohorts needs to make up 85% of the attendance. However, there is addition opportunity available to support children deemed as disadvantaged/vulnerable/at risk (historically we have used our partnerships with schools who have pre-existing relationships with these families to help us target them by stealth). HAF providers need to ensure their programme is made up at 85% of FSM-eligible. 

  2. Activity Providers: The Hubb Foundation will link you with wider enrichment providers and activity instructors ranging from adventurous activities, art, physical activities and music etc.

  3. Food: The Hubb Foundation will coordinate the provision of Food as required

  4. Evaluation Data: After each holiday period, specific data returns will need to be returned by the led provider, to ensure reporting to the local authority allowing them to report back to the funding body the department for education: what the cost of the programme has been. how many children participated in your programme during the last holiday period including, but not restricted to: the overall number of unique children who participated in the programme the overall number of unique children in receipt of FSM who participated in your programme the number and proportion of children who are in the: primary school age range secondary school age range any children outside of those age ranges who attended the programme. (more detail can be found in the Data Processing Agreement within partner agreement)

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