Support for Christmas Period
Published: 13 December 2021
Below are details about the Household Support Fund and the Christmas Holidays Activity Programme. Below details are kindly provided by County Council Cllr Firouz Thompson:
Cambridgeshire’s Household Support Fund, funded by the Department for Work and Pensions, has been created to help people experiencing immediate financial hardship to pay for food, household energy or other essential items. The scheme will run until 31 March 2022.
Support is offered in two ways:
· Support with food, household energy and other essentials for individuals and families: residents are eligible to access this support if they earn less than £17,940 per year, or are in receipt of certain state benefits
· Direct food voucher scheme: as in previous school holidays, supermarket vouchers will be issues to families meeting the low-income criteria for free school meals, funded childcare for two-year-olds, early years pupil premium, or sixth form students eligible for free school meals.
Holiday Activity & Food in Cambridgeshire
Enriching experiences and a nutritious lunch are being made available in the Christmas holidays for the children of families receiving benefits-related free school meals.
The Holiday Activity and Food (HAF) programme offers fun with friends and free food for primary and secondary school children in Cambridgeshire. Sessions will include a healthy meal, a variety of exciting activities or sports and the opportunity to socialise with other children. Any child receiving benefits-related free school meals is eligible for the programme.
Funded by the Department for Education (DfE) for the next three years, the HAF scheme enables councils like Cambridgeshire to coordinate free holiday childcare and enriching experiences locally. The programme will be delivered by approved providers, and co-ordinated locally by Cambridgeshire County Council.
Each eligible child will be able to access up to 16 hours of free holiday childcare or enriching experiences through the school Christmas holiday period. Bookings have already opened and information about how to book with participating providers can be found at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/haf
As part of the HAF programme, eligible children will be able to access:
· Fun and enriching play opportunities or new experiences that provide children with new skills and knowledge.
· At least one meal a day.
· Guidance on healthy eating and getting children involved in food preparation and cooking.
· Support for parents, carers, or other family members with guidance on how to source, prepare and cook nutritious and low-cost food.
· Information and signposting to other services and support which might be helpful.
The Council is working with local schools, voluntary and community organisations, and childcare providers to deliver the HAF programme. https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/news/holiday-activities-and-food-programme
Registered Holiday Scheme Providers and childminders are welcome to sign up to deliver the programme, by emailing HAF@cambridgeshire.gov.uk. It would be great to see the programme expand into some of our larger villages locally. There are 29 providers in South Cambridgeshire but none in Longstanton, Northstowe, Over and Oakington & Westwick, it would be great to have a few signed up.