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Thursday, April 18, 2024
HomeHarrow CouncilChildren in Harrow can access free activity programmes that provide nutritious meals...

Children in Harrow can access free activity programmes that provide nutritious meals this Easter

Reception to Year 11 students in Harrow, who are eligible for free school meals (benefits related), will be able to access holiday activity clubs for free this Easter holiday.

Each programme will be providing fresh nutritious meals for their young people as part of the provision.

There are twenty organisations involved in the Harrow HAF, offering activities including drama workshops, sports sessions, woodland crafts, and trips across London.

This year, additional spaces are being made available for the Reception to Year 11 students who may not be eligible for free school meals, but face other barriers in their lives. This support is thanks to the DVS Foundation who have joined the programme in Harrow as corporate sponsors.

All activities can be viewed and booked via youngharrowfoundation.org/haf-programme

Multiple organisations are running SEND specific programmes with many more focusing on being SEND friendly and inclusive for young people from all backgrounds.

A set of online resources will also be made available for parents and carers. This will include ‘Cooking on a Budget’ videos from London’s Community Kitchen, a HAF-specific job vacancies page, and access to a directory of 360+ local projects for young people and their families on the Young Harrow Foundation website.

The HAY Harrow Survey was answered by over 6,000 local young people. The results revealed that 12% of young people worry that their family might run out of food. This food anxiety is worsened during school holidays, as families no longer have access to the free school meals provided by their schools.

To address this need, the Department for Education has provided funding for Harrow Council who, working in partnership with Young Harrow Foundation, have launched the HAF programme for the second year.

The DVS Foundation – a charitable foundation set up by local business DVS Property – have come on board as corporate sponsors for this year’s HAF programme in Harrow. With their funding, more HAF spaces are being opened up for young people who do not qualify for free school meals but face other barriers.

2021 saw HAF programmes running through the Easter, Summer and Winter holidays in Harrow with over 8,000 young people estimated to have taken part. The feedback from parents across each holiday was very positive:

“Having seen the pictures of what my child did, I am so amazed that something to this scale was being offered for free.” – Local parent

“Some of our Children face real food poverty, to be provided with a hot dinner was an added bonus to what was already a fantastic day.” – Local parent

“The staff were professional and helpful throughout the day, listening to the needs of each group and the individual requirements for our group that had severe learning disabilities.” – Local parent

You can see videos of Harrow’s HAF programmes in action HERE.

Dan Burke, CEO of Young Harrow Foundation, said: “The school holidays are supposed to be a time for children and young people to get outside, make new friends, and have fun. Everyone should be able to look forward to the holidays, regardless of their situation. That’s what HAF is all about.

Each holiday we are pushing to do things bigger and better than they were before, so that even more young people can enjoy themselves, they can do even more exciting activities, and go on even better trips. Working with the Council, local sponsors, and local providers has opened up a world of possibilities that we can’t wait to push further for our young people.”

Paul Hewitt, Corporate Director of People’s Services at Harrow Council, said: “Last year, Harrow HAF transformed the way that we as a borough address food poverty. Local charities, youth groups, sports clubs, kitchens and food services, all came together to support the families in our borough who need it most.

Thousands of children and young people in Harrow got to try things for the first time thanks to HAF. With provisions across the borough, it was local and accessible so that no one would be left out. This year promises to be even bigger and better than before and we look forward to seeing so many happy faces this Easter.”

To book a place for Easter, find out more about HAF Programme and access parent and carer’s support, visit: youngharrowfoundation.org/haf-programme.

Source: Harrow Council