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Who is this information for?

This information is for lead providers who are interested in delivering the HAF Programme within the Dudley Metropolitan Council area.


A lead provider is the organisation responsible for coordinating their individual HAF project, they may then coordinate a number of sub-providers (venue, workshops, food providers etc) to deliver the holiday programme requirements.


Lead providers must meet the HAF requirements (see below) and hold overall responsibility for the successful delivery of their holiday activities. Lead providers will apply for the grant funding to cover cost of running the holiday activities and pay any sub-providers from that budget.


Lead providers could be charities, CICs, schools or private organisations. Priority will be given to providers who are Dudley MBC based, community focused and demonstrate commitment to the overall sustainability of youth provision in the area.

What is the HAF Programme?


The Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) Programme is a Department for Education (DfE) funded programme that offers free holiday club places to eligible children and young people. (See section ‘eligibility’)


Research has shown that the school holidays can be pressure points for some families. For some children that can lead to a holiday experience gap. Children from low-income households are:

  • less likely to access organised out-of-school activities

  • more likely to experience ‘unhealthy holidays’ in terms of nutrition and physical health

  •  more likely to experience social isolation


The HAF programme is a national response to this issue. Evidence shows that free holiday clubs can have a positive impact on children and young people. They work best when they:

  • provide consistent and easily accessible enrichment activities

  • cover more than just breakfast or lunch

  • involve children and parents in food preparation

  • use local partnerships and connections, particularly with the VCSO sector


The base requirement is that all lead providers should offer the following during each session offered:

  • Healthy meal and snacks (hot meals should be offered where possible), all meals must meet school healthy food guidelines.

  • At least 1hr physical activity each day in a way that is accessible and enjoyable for all children.

  • Opportunity every day to take part in other enriching activities or experiences non-sport based (arts, crafts, learning, life skills, leadership etc)

  • An element of nutritional education or understanding for children and young people, either through workshops or opportunities to be involved in preparation and planning of meals.

  • Nutritional education for families; involvement, encouragement or workshops where relevant.

  • Robust safeguarding policies and procedures– see ‘Safeguarding Requirements’ page

  • Ability to fulfil the administration requirements of the programme (applications, reports, data processing, processing bookings)

  • Where groups are a mix of paid places and HAF free places, groups must be seamlessly joined with no differentiation between the two cohorts to avoid stigmatising the programme.

How does HAF work?

HAF can work in a range of different settings and delivery models, the flexibility in the programme allows us to work with organisations differently to deliver the best programme for families. Some examples of how HAF could work:

  • An existing group looking to expand holiday activities offer.

  • A school looking to either run their own holiday club or fund the FSM eligible places already attending their holiday club.

  • A school looking to open their premises to an external activity provider (where provider completes applications and administration for the programme)

  • A private school holiday club looking to offer free spaces to FSM eligible children alongside their paying places.

How to apply for funding:


Applications are now closed, please email to be informed when funding opportunities are live.


You will need to have read all the guidelines and have the following documents ready to upload:

  • Your organisation’s current safeguarding policy

  • Your organisation’s current insurance policy


Funding Process for HAF provider applicants:

  • Complete application linked above when available

  • The HAF team will contact you with any clarification questions and/or a funding offer via email with next steps.

  • Sign and return the HAF contract to accept the offer. Note: funding is not guaranteed unless this document is signed and returned.

  • Submit invoice for first 50% agreed funding amount – HAF Team will process payment.

  • HAF delivery period

  • Submit provider report

  • Submit invoice for final 50% agreed funding amount – HAF Team will process payment.


Key Requirements & Eligibility

  • All sessions must include at least one meal which should meet school healthy meal guidelines and be hot where possible

  • Activities must be delivered within the prescribed school holiday dates only

  • All sessions must include physical and enriching activities


We are keen to include Young People throughout the process and want you, where possible, to include them in the planning and delivery.


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.

Programme requirements – We are interested in proposals from providers who can deliver:

  1. Enriching activities: clubs 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. Signposting and referrals: clubs must be able to provide information, signposting or referrals to other services and support that would benefit the children who attend their provision and their families.

  6. Policies and procedures: clubs 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, clubs must also be compliant with the Ofsted requirements for working with children.

Frequently Asked Questions

What has changed since last year?

As the HAF team has changed, there will also be a few changes for providers. We want to make sure the transition period is as seamless as possible for providers working with HAF so if you have any concerns about any of the following, please get in touch. We offer support and a flexible approach to the funding process.

  • New application form

  • New payment process (50% initial payment, 50% on completion of delivery and reporting)

  • New provider contacts (


Can a day trip be funded by HAF?

We prefer activities to be based at your organisation’s site to encourage localised and consistent support for children and young people. You can include day trips if it is part of your wider programme, however a one-off trip with no other activities will not be given priority.


Would the children / young people be expected to come every day or just one day a week?

Children have an allocation on the amount of activities that they can attend during the holidays. Each session counts as one, unless stated differently.

Is there any particular areas of Dudley that we are focusing on?

We are particularly focusing on our secondary uptake and would welcome applications that improved engagement. We are also focusing on our SEND offer and increasing capacity.


What about non Free School Meal children, can they be included in the activity?

Up to 15% of your total session places can be allocated to children who are non-FSM eligible but meet one of the following criteria:

·    Children and young people aged 5 – 16 with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and/or children and young people aged 5– 16 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) or additional needs,

·    Children aged 5 – 16 known to local social services within the last three months.

If I have a child with a sibling that are not in the age group that I can take, can I refer them to another provider that can take them? Yes, we are hoping to have a directory whereby we can share details of providers and signpost parents/families.

Is there a minimum or maximum number of children per day/venue/provider?
No, there is no minimum or maximum number of children per day for any venue or provider, however, we would require you to adhere to health and safety and Ofsted guideline’s whilst providing the fun activities.


Helpful Links


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


Information for Schools and Professionals


Be expanded across the whole of England until 2025.


Read about the HAF programme: Holiday activities and food programme 2023 - GOV.UK ( 

Funds have been made available to every local authority in England to coordinate free holiday provisions, including healthy food and enriching activities. The programme will cover the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays. Dudley have been granted £1,200,000 per year.


The funding for the HAF programme is for children who receive benefits-related free school meals. (Reception to Year 11).


The aim of the programme is to make free places available to children eligible for benefits-related free school meals for the equivalent of at least 4 hours a day, 4 days a week, 4 weeks. The HAF programme needs to cover 4 weeks in the Summer and 4 days worth of provision in each of the Easter and Christmas holidays.


School holidays can be particular 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

  • more likely to experience social isolation


Free holiday clubs are a response to this issue and evidence suggests that they can have a positive impact on children and young people and that they work best when they:

  • provide consistent and easily accessible enrichment activities

  • cover more than just breakfast or lunch

  • involve children (and parents) in food preparation

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