What is the HAF Programme?

HAF is a Department for Education (DfE) funded programme aimed at enabling children and young people in receipt of benefits-related free school meals (FSM) and In need over to attend school holiday activities and experiences during Easter, summer and Christmas.

In Newcastle , we work with over 150 organisations to deliver the programme for families. This includes our schools,¬† Children & Families Services,¬† voluntary sector including¬† community providers ‚Äď youth & play services ‚Äď sporting organisations,¬† workshop- training providers, supermarkets, food & catering suppliers.

The programme creates free places for eligible children to attend, with a focus on enriching activities and experiences with a healthy meal and snacks included.

Newcastle Best Ever (HAF) recognises the challenges facing children, young people and families following the Covid pandemic and as a result of the current cost-of-living crisis Newcastle’s 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.  Providing healthy and nutritious meals, fun physical activities, places to be social and feel safe, with opportunities to take part in engaging and enriching activities which support the development of resilience, character and wellbeing along with their wider educational attainment.

Eligibility Criteria

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

Benefits-related FSMs 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 more information and to apply visit Free School Meals 

In addition, there are a small proportion of places available for children from the following groups:

  • Children assessed by the local authority as being in need, at risk or vulnerable (this means the child has a CIN (Child in Need plan), CPP (Child Protection Plan) or EHA (Early Help Assessment).
  • Young Carers
  • Looked-after children or previously looked after children (Kinship carers only)
  • Children with an EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan)
  • Children directly referred by providers, school, parenting practitioner, health visitors, housing association (see below referral process)
  • Children from refugee families.

The 15% flexibility is used at the discretion of HAF providers and places are limited due to funding criteria. Priority for HAF places will be given to FSM eligible children. Below is a guide for what can /could be included in the additional eligibility criteria.

Check the link below for a list of activities around Newcastle.

Newcastle Support Directory | Newcastle Support Directory


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