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Free cost-of-living support will keep thousands of children active and fed during the Christmas holidays

Posted on Friday 8th December 2023
Achieving Goalz girls football NEWSROOM

Girls’ Football with provider, Achieving Goalz, as part of Staffordshire County Council’s HAF programme last winter.

Thousands of children from low-income families will be able to benefit from free food and activities this winter as part of Staffordshire’s Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) programme. 

The county council run scheme is available to over 23,000 eligible children between five and 16 who receive benefits-related free school meals. 

The programme includes access to fun activities, nutritional advice and a healthy hot meal where possible. Funding is provided by the Department for Education. 

The activities will be delivered by over 80 individual clubs across the county. 

Joining the scheme in time for the Christmas holidays is Crystal Academy Aerial Arts and Dance – a family-run community interest company located in the heart of Hednesford. 

The academy, run by Jason and Kirsty Kolmer, will offer children the chance to learn musical theatre, acrobatics, aerial arts and dance. 

Jason said:

“With over ten years' experience teaching children acrobatics, aerial arts, dance and musical theatre, we are excited to be part of this initiative and are looking forward to welcoming the local children of Hednesford, Cannock and wider into our academy for these winter workshops.” 

Mark Sutton, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Children and Young People, said:

“With the rising cost-of-living putting additional pressures on parents, this programme will be a lifeline to many local families over the Christmas holidays. 

“Children will have the chance to enjoy up to four fun activities - including dancing, acting, sports and art – and have access to a nutritious meal. 

“Since we launched the scheme in 2021, it has made leaps and bounds with over 187,000 places given to children in total so far. 

“This is in addition to a further 12,000 places available this winter to help keep children active and well-fed during the school break. I would urge parents to take up this opportunity.”  

HAF activities will run from Tuesday 2 January to Friday 5 January 2024, and includes a healthy meal with every place booked.

Eligible children can have up to four free places on the winter programme. They will have received a registration code from their school. 

Registration for the Christmas holidays opened on Thursday 7 December. 

Parents and carers can register and sign up for a timetable of activities by visiting www.staffordshire.gov.uk/holidayactivities. 

Staffordshire County Council’s Here To Help campaign focuses on sharing information, advice and support to help residents manage cost-of-living pressures.  

For more information, visit the county council’s dedicated cost-of-living support website. 

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