Holiday activities and Food Programme


The government has recently announced that the holiday activities and food (HAF) programme will be expanded across the whole of England in 2021.

Funds have been made available to every local authority in England to coordinate free holiday provision, including healthy food and enriching activities. The programme will cover the Easter, Summer and Christmas holidays in 2021.

Expression of Interest (EOI)

If you are able to provide Holiday activities and food programme for children and young people during these periods, please complete and submit this Expression of Interest form (PDF 116KB). To assist you with completing the expression of interest, please read the information below, if you have any enquiries please email


Thursday 30 September - HAF Winter Expression of Interest Deadline.

Friday 29 October - Results of HAF Winter Expression of Interest Applications to be Communicated by.

Friday 17 December - Start of Winter School Holidays.

Tuesday 4 January - End of Winter School Holidays.

The funding for this holiday activity and food programme is for children who receive benefits-related free school meals (Reception to Year 11).

The programme can be available to children not eligible for free school meals, who can pay to attend, but priority should be given to eligible children. We will support providers to offer wide access to places for children depending on local supply and demand for provision of holiday activities and food. This could be through collaborating with existing holiday provision in the area or operating a bespoke model.

Families may be eligible for tax free childcare or the childcare costs element of Universal Credit, through which families may be able to claim back up to 85% of their childcare costs

  • eat more healthily over the school holidays
  • be more 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 greater knowledge of health and nutrition
  • be more engaged with school and other local services

Children's Services is coordinating the development of the programme locally as follows:

For Summer and Christmas holidays

Cumbria County Council (CCC) are looking to have a broad range of activities to widen its provision across the county during the Summer and Christmas holidays 2021. 

We recognise that it may not be possible to present completed proposals at this stage. However, we are keen to learn as much as possible about your organisation, its track record and your potential ideas; we can then best assess the opportunities we have to maximise the funding we will receive. 

Most importantly, CCC want to make sure we provide a quality service and reach as many free school meal families as we can, including those we may not have engaged previously. Provision during the summer holiday needs to be over a period of at least 4 hours a day, 4 days a week for 4 weeks. For Christmas the requirement is at least 4 hours a day, 4 days a week for 1 week or more. The 4 days of session delivery do not have to run consecutively and can be delivered split across the weeks.

We are interested in proposals from reputable providers who can deliver within one or more of target provision areas - and from providers who would be interested in 'scaling up' their current provision, to meet the needs of a wider cohort of children and families either on a County wide or district basis. 

We would also welcome applications from organisations working in partnership with other providers to offer children and young people experiences in Cumbria to enrich their life experiences. For example, organised trips as part of your offer to visit the Lake District National Park or Area of Outstanding National Beauty and volunteering opportunities.

We would be delighted to discuss ideas providers might have, at this stage, for any support they may need to scale up their provision - and to discuss what this might entail.

The deadline for EOI submissions for the Summer and Christmas holidays is Friday 7 May 2021.

If you have any questions about the HAF programme or how to complete an expression of interest form for Summer and/or Christmas, please contact our team by using this email address:

The grant allocation process

Due to the short timescales and to work effectively, we have used the DfE's HAF guidance to create an EOI form. This will enable us to award grants in an efficient and transparent manner according to agreed DfE HAF funding specifications.

Equality, diversity, and inclusion

Providers will be asked to consider and identify how they propose to meet the needs of diverse groups i.e. food provision which cater for religious beliefs, activities which are gender-aware and inclusive for children with additional needs or disabilities.

Where to find more information about the programme

Visit the government website for more information on the national programme.

Completing your expression of interest application

Please read through the information provided.

Programme requirements

We are interested in proposals from providers who can deliver:

1. Enriching activities: providers must provide fun and enriching activities that provide children with opportunities to develop new skills or knowledge, to consolidate existing skills and knowledge, or to try out new experiences. This could include physical activities such as football, table tennis, cricket; creative activities such as putting on a play, junk modelling, drumming workshops; or experiences such as a nature walk, visiting a city farm etc.

2. Food: clubs must provide at least one meal a day (breakfast, lunch or tea) and all food provided at the club (including snacks) must meet school food standards. The expectation is that the majority of food served by providers will be hot, however, we acknowledge that there will be occasions when this is not possible and that a cold alternative should be used. All food provided as part of the programme must comply with regulations on food preparation and take into account allergies and dietary requirements and preferences as well as any religious or cultural requirements for food.

3. Physical activities: clubs must provide activities which meet the Physical Activity Guidelines on a daily basis.

4. Nutritional education: clubs must include an element of nutritional education each day aimed at improving the knowledge and awareness of healthy eating for children. These do not need to be formal learning activities and could for example include activities such as getting children involved in food preparation and cooking, growing fruit and vegetables, and taste tests.

5. Food education for families and carers: clubs must include at least weekly training and advice sessions for parents, carers or other family members which provide advice on how to source, prepare and cook nutritious and low-cost food.

6. Signposting and referrals: organisations must be able to provide information, signposting or referrals to other services and support that will benefit the children who attend their provision and their families. This could include sessions, information provided by:

i. Citizen's Advice

ii. School Nurses, dentists or other healthcare practitioners

iii. Children's Services and other local authority services

iv. Housing Support Officers

v. Jobcentre Plus

vi. Organisations providing financial education

7. Policies and procedures: organisation must be able to demonstrate and explain their safeguarding arrangements and have relevant and appropriate policies and procedures in place in relation to: 

i. Safeguarding

ii. Health and Safety

iii. Insurance

iv. Accessibility and inclusiveness, including addressing equality and diversity

v. Where appropriate, organisation must also be compliant with the Ofsted requirements for working with children

The aim of the programme is to make free places available to children eligible for free school meals for the equivalent of at least 4 hours a day, 4 days a week, 6 weeks a year. The HAF programme needs to cover 4 weeks in the summer and 1 week in the Christmas holidays. 

We are not looking for one provider to cover all of this provision and understand it is likely to be a collective effort. It is also envisaged that we will be able to target more FSM families, age ranges and areas as well as diversify the content, if we divide the provision between various organisations.

One of the main requirements is to provide food and activities around food, if you are unable to facilitate this, we may have options to partner you with other organisations. We welcome applications from joint organisations, and we will look to partner organisations if we feel your applications could be stronger together and/or if in order to satisfy the HAF criteria, you need to collaborate with another organisation.

Organisations can therefore apply just to deliver the enrichment element of the programme, or the food element - but decisions on funding will therefore need to take into account of appropriate linking across different projects to ensure that there can be a co-ordinated approach to delivery for those children and families involved.

Organisations can also apply for only one or all of the holidays, for instance, schools may be interested in educational activities for just the Summer, and one group may like to focus on a Christmas 2021 project. You can also apply for different age ranges - the HAF provision needs to cater for all school aged children and activities need to be age appropriate. We are open to all suggestions and proposed plans that meet the HAF aims and objectives.