Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme

Our Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme provides healthy meals and enriching activities for thousands of children and young people aged 5-16 across the borough during the Easter, Summer and Christmas school holidays.

The scheme is funded by the Department for Education and is open to families in receipt of benefits-related free school meals.

The programme aims to encourage children to:

  • eat more healthily;
  • be more active;
  • take part in engaging and enriching activities that support the development of resilience, character and wellbeing as well as 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.

What is HAF?

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

  • 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 response to this issue, with evidence showing that free holiday clubs 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;
  • use local partnerships and connections, particularly with the voluntary and community organisation sector.

How it works

The Council has received an allocation from the Department for Education of £1.3m per year until March 2025 to deliver the Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme.

Eligible families receive e-vouchers via email or directly to a mobile phone, enabling them to book activities via Holiday Activities (external link).

Activity camps are delivered by our Be Well health and wellbeing service plus a range of external providers. 

Available activities include sports, dance, drama, media, computing, arts and crafts, and much more - ensuring there is something for everyone.

Children are also provided with healthy and nutritious meals each day that they attend camp.

Our delivery

We work with more than 50 different providers to run HAF clubs at 70+ locations across Wigan Borough. In 2022, our delivery saw:

  • 7,602 young people attending
  • More than 47,000 meals provided
  • 972 SEND children taking part.

Is my child eligible?

The HAF programme is for school-aged children from reception to year 11 (inclusive) who receive benefits-related free school meals (FSM).

Benefits-related free school meals 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.

For further eligibility details and more information about HAF please visit the official government website (external link).

For those who do not receive benefits-related free school meals, the following partners are also offering paid-for provision for 2023. If you would like to find out more, please contact the provider.

Contact us

If your child is eligible for benefits-related free school meals but you haven’t received an e-voucher allowing you to book activities then please contact your child’s school in the first instance.

If you have any further queries relating to the HAF programme then please email hafreferrals@wigan.gov.uk.

If you are a provider and are interested in hearing more about how you can get involved in the delivery of the HAF programme, please email HAF@wigan.gov.uk.

© Wigan Council