Positive start for the HAF programme

April 21, 2021

The Council is recognising and thanking our local organisations, charities, and schools for delivering the Holiday activities and food programme (HAF) for Southend’s children and young people.

Over the Easter school holidays many providers created tailor-made programmes in collaboration with children and young people, bringing them a range of fun and engaging activities, along with a healthy lunch. The programme saw exceptional engagement and eagerness from the participants, making the programme a success.

Carol Parker, HAF project lead at the council, said: “The HAF programme is a wonderful project to be a part of. I am so grateful that we were able to deliver these sessions to the children and young people in Southend, ensuring they stay active and healthy over the school holidays.

“We have received outstanding feedback from the providers and participants over Easter, which has given us more insight and ideas for the summer holiday sessions. We will be working with the young people in order to understand what they would like to see and achieve from the programme going forward.

“We will be continuing the HAF programme for four weeks over the summer holidays. We hope that with the bigger budget available, we will be able to deliver a greater variety of sessions with additional providers, giving the eligible children and young people more say in the activities they would like to take part in.”

The HAF programme has provided healthy food and enriching activities to eligible children since 2018, and on 8 November 2020 the Government announced the scheme will be expanded across the whole of England in 2021.

The aim of the programme is to help children and young people;

  • be more active by taking part in engaging and enriching activities
  • be safe by engaging with services and not feeling isolated
  • eat healthy by learning about health and nutrition in the sessions

The programme is running at least four hours a day, four days a week, six weeks a year. This covers four weeks in the summer holiday and a week in both the Easter and Christmas holidays.

We are pleased to share some comments from the parents/carers, whose families benefitted from the Easter project, along with a case study detailing the wonderful outcome of the project below;

“You have all given 110% and made my kids feel very excited about a sport they didn't play before. I am very grateful to everyone that gave up time to help these children. Due to lockdown my kids have spent so much time inside and hated going out if they didn't have to. This was something they was looking forward to and I feel it has helped their mental health. Thank you to everybody that made this possible.”

“My son has enjoyed doing this club so much and it has helped him with his confidence as he has ADHD he struggles sometimes with things but this has helped a lot and has made him so happy it’s something he has always wanted to do and has enjoyed every minute of it.”

“My son enjoyed himself and loved the experience. Well done to your team for creating fun and memorable experience for my son and other children.”

“I am really happy and grateful wishing that this kind of activity could carry on for children to forget of what they went through during lockdown. You have changed our life greatly and I am hoping that this will happen again for the sake of the children.”

Case Study

R took part in our Easter Song Writing Course throughout the 6th-9th April, and had very little musical experience prior to this. Despite being socially reserved on day one, R showed a lot of promise as she was often the first participant to have her hand up with a question or a lyric suggestion in regards to writing our first song as a group. As the days went on, it was clear that R was feeling more and more confident to get to know the others in the group, and she ended up socializing really well with everyone involved. By the last day of the course, R had written a whole song’s worth of lyrics and worked with the music tutor and two other young people to finish her first song.


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