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HAF - Holiday, Activity and Food

Rochdale HAF website

What is the Holiday Activities and Food Programme?

The Holiday Activities and Food Programme is an initiative funded by the Department for Education to provide a programme of funded activities during the school holidays aimed to get children who attend to:

  • 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 a greater knowledge of health and nutrition
  • Be more engaged with school and other local services

Programmes can be led by a range of organisations. From across the public, private and community and voluntary sectors, they must offer a range of catering, sports and physical activity and enrichment activities.

Who can access the programme?

The holiday activities and food programme is only available to those children who have been award free school meals because of their parent’s financial circumstance.  If your child is in reception, year 1 or year 2 they are automatically entitled to the universal free school meal offer.  Please note that this is not benefits related and is not part of the eligibility criteria for the holiday activities and food programme.  If you feel your child is eligible for benefits related free school meals and you have not made a free school meal application to the council, please make an application using this link.

Benefits related free school meal criteria:

  • Income support
  • Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • Income-related employment and support allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Child tax credit (provided you’re not also entitled to working tax credit and have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)
  • The guarantee element of state pension credit
  • Working tax credit run-on – paid for four weeks after you stop qualifying for working tax credit.
  • Universal credit with annual net earned income of less than £7,400

What’s included?

Each eligible child or young person will be able to access up to 4 days provision of the holidays. Each provider will offer:

  • One meal during the session
  • Enjoyable activities. These vary from provider to provider but may include creative, enriching or physical activities
  • Socialising and friendly spaces to build relationships
  • Guidance and signposting for parents and carers to support your family

How do I register?

  • All children and young people who are eligible and claiming free school meals will receive a Holiday Activities code from their school. These Holiday Activities codes can be used to book activities with your chosen holiday club provider. The codes are unique to each individual and are different for each holiday period.
  • Check with the provider that the programme is suitable for your child’s age range and any additional needs your child has.
  • Programme places are offered on a first come first served basis. Where a programme is full you can book with an alternative provider.

What if my child attends a school outside Rochdale Borough, or lives outside of Rochdale Borough?

If a child is eligible for Free School Meals, and attends a Rochdale Borough school, or lives within Rochdale Borough, then they are eligible to sign up to the Rochdale Borough Holiday Activities and Food programme.

If they don’t live in, or go to school in Rochdale Borough, then you need to go to the relevant local authority (council) site. The Holiday Activity and Food Programme is a nationwide initiative.

My existing holiday provider isn’t providing free places for those eligible for Free School Meals. Can they do so?

Yes, ask your current childcare provider/holiday provider to apply for funded HAF places by contacting