The Food Foundation launches film to support Government’s expanded £220m Holiday Activities and Food Programme to encourage parents to sign up this summer, with the support of Marcus Rashford, MBE

The Food Foundation today called on parents to sign their children up for the Government’s expanded Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme this summer, with the support of Henry Dimbleby MBE and Marcus Rashford MBE.

The programme, backed by the Child Food Poverty Taskforce, offers fun and food for children and young people across England during the school holidays. The holiday club places are free to those who receive free school meals, with children and young people of all ages and backgrounds welcome.  

The full film can be seen here: and was filmed at CATCH Leeds, Mandeville Primary in London and Button Lane in Manchester where Marcus went to primary school. 

The expanded £220 million Holiday Activities and Food programme (HAF) has been funded by the Government and builds on previous programmes, piloted since 2018. The scheme was also a part of the recommendations made in Part 1 of the National Food Strategy released last year. A petition supporting the recommendations was signed by over 1 million people.      
The holiday programme is targeted to support children and young people who have been most affected by the pandemic, offering a safe and supportive environment where they can learn, be active and eat well, as well as make new friends locally. 
New data reveals 30% of parents of school-aged children are worried about feeding their children over the summer holidays. This is higher among parents with children (aged 8-16) on Free School Meals with 49% worried about feeding their children over the summer holidays. Overall, 85% of parents of school-aged children think that the Government should be providing holiday clubs. 
This film is being released to drive up awareness of the HAF scheme in the lead up to the summer holidays. New data shows currently 24% of parents with school-aged children have heard of the Holiday Activity and Food programme. This rises to 43% for parents with children on Free School Meals who are aware of the scheme, and who are entitled to free places on the programme.     
Local coordinators will provide a set of fun activities ensuring children can enjoy and learn new skills, as well as healthy and tasty meals, teaching children about food and nutrition in fun and active ways.  

As well as the meals, there will be a host of activities available, with local coordinators teaming up with a range of different partners in their communities to provide numerous options so every child can find something they enjoy. From Kung Fu to cooking and bushcraft, it will be a chance for children to get out of their comfort zones and experience something new.  

Last summer’s pilot programme supported around 50,000 children across 17 local authorities. However, this is the first year that expanded holiday clubs will be available to children across the whole of England. They will run this summer and then during the Christmas holidays too, a move which has been supported by Rashford, the Food Foundation and the Child Food Poverty Taskforce.  

Parents of eligible children can sign their children up for their local summer programme and are encouraged to find out what’s on in their area via their local council website or by searching online. 
Information about the programme can be found here. 

Programme providers can find a range of supportive resources and materials via:  
The film was produced by Yada Yada Productions and supported by thefoodpeople and University of York-led programme FixOurFood
2 min version final (YouTube, unlisted):
1 min version final (YouTube, unlisted):
High res Quicktime files can be downloaded from this link:…


Marcus Rashford said: “I know only too well that the holidays can be a really difficult time for families who are struggling. It’s such a weight off their shoulders to know that there is a safe space for their children to go, where their minds can be stimulated, and where they are guaranteed at least one meal a day.” 

Anna Taylor, CEO of the Food Foundation said: “We really welcome this move by the Government to launch the Holiday Activities and Food Programme so that it can reach the children across England who need it. The pandemic has hit the most vulnerable and disadvantaged the hardest, with food poverty at the heart of the difficulties for many families. It’s absolutely crucial that we are supporting our young people so that they can overcome these challenges and thrive.” 

Henry Dimbleby, the co-founder of Leon and the independent lead of the National Food Strategy, said: “The Holiday Activities and Food programme is a great step forward in expanding what’s being offered to children through the holidays. It will mean that children and young people on Free School Meals not only don’t go hungry when term ends but also eat healthily and have fun. I hope that schools and local authorities help get the word out so that parents know that these programmes are available for their children, and that local authorities share the film and make it as easy as possible for parents to find out about your HAF scheme before the summer holidays start.” 

Vicky Ford, Minister for Children and Families: “Thousands of young people will continue to benefit from the expanded Holiday Activities and Food programme, which the Government is expanding across the whole country with investment of up to £220 million. This summer it will continue to provide nutritious food, as well as activities like arts and crafts, sport, and music, to the children who would benefit the most – especially those eligible for free school meals.
“I’m grateful for the support of Henry Dimbleby, Marcus Rashford and the Food Foundation as champions for the HAF programme and I hope many others follow their lead. I urge parents and families to have a look at what’s on in their area for the summer holidays.” 
Ash Razzaq, Founder of HAF provider CATCH, in inner-city Leeds, said: 
“School holidays are often really stressful for children and their families in this area of Leeds: worrying about how to afford activities and even the basics, like meals and a safe place to play. 

“HAF means more children and young people in Harehills can actually enjoy their school holidays.  They will be trying new experiences –looking after our goats is always popular! - getting stuck in with lots of activities, making friends, and eating tasty and nutritious meals and snacks.  Many of them will then carry on coming to CATCH to take part in after-school and weekend activities, which means we can continue to give them, and their families support long after the school holidays are over.” 

Case study
CATCH Leeds and Holiday Activities and Food programme 
Harehills, in an inner-city area Leeds, is among the 10% most deprived areas of the country.  Local residents have been hit hard by the impact of Covid, so HAF provision by a local community organisation like CATCH, is vital to helping local children and their families enjoy their school holidays. 
CATCH has developed a holiday programme that appeals to teenagers as well as younger children. Activities include all the usual games, sports and arts and craft activities but also has them from designing and building poly tunnels, growing food in them which will be part of the holiday lunches, and they will be involved in looking after the goats and chickens on their educational farm.   
Some of their young volunteers will also support staff to run the sports and craft activities and pick up nutrition and cooking skills by being involved in the meal provision CATCH is a volunteer-led organisation and has recently been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. CATCH expects many of the young people who come to their holiday scheme to get involved with volunteering at CATCH and supporting their local community. 
With many local families struggling to provide nutritious meals, CATCH provides tasty and nutritious meals for the children attending, as well as food they can take home for their families.   
As part of the Leeds Healthy Holidays network, CATCH will be able to access training, support, resources, and activities from a range of partners.  As well as FareShare Yorkshire, Rethink Food, StreetGames, they will be able to take part in school uniform exchanges through Zero Waste Leeds, get access to donated laptops through Tech Angels and activity packs produced by Fall Into Place working with other community organisations in nearby Seacroft. Leeds City Council’s Public Health team provide support on healthy eating, and Leeds Community Foundation will provide free access to other providers to enhance their enrichment activities.  Working with Leeds City Council and local school partners gives CATCH additional ways to reach the children and families most in need of HAF activities. 

Note to Editors

Available for Interview  

Data sources  
Data collected by Focaldata from a representative sample of 2,032 parents of school-aged children between 8th and 11th June 2021 using its proprietary data collection platform FDCore. Focaldata is a research data company that has been at the forefront of using the latest data collection software and machine learning based techniques to estimate public opinion.

Press contact

About the Food Foundation   
The Food Foundation is a charity working to influence food policy and business practice, shaping a sustainable food system which makes healthy diets affordable and accessible for all. We work in partnership with researchers, campaigners, community bodies, industry, investors, government and citizens to galvanise the UK’s diverse agents of change, using surprising and inventive ideas to drive fundamental shifts in our food system. These efforts are based on the continual re-evaluation of opportunities for action, building and synthesising strong evidence, convening powerful coalitions, harnessing citizens’ voices and delivering impactful communications.  
Registered Charity Number 1187611 
About the Child Food Poverty Task Force   
Formed by England footballer Marcus Rashford MBE, the Child Food Poverty Task Force is a group of businesses and charities who, since September 1st, have dedicated their platforms to sharing real stories of those most affected by child food insecurity in the UK, supported by real-time statistics. The task force includes Aldi, Asda, Co-Op, Deliveroo, The Food Foundation, Fareshare, General Mills, Greggs, Heinz, Iceland, Kellogg's, Lidl, Marcus Rashford, Mars, McDonalds, Marks & Spencers, Ocado, Tesco, Sainsbury's, Waitrose & Partners, Weetabix and Yeo Organics. 
About the National Food Strategy
Henry Dimbleby, Defra’s lead Non-Executive Director, is leading an Independent Review to develop recommendations to shape a National Food Strategy. The Strategy will address the challenges of supporting people to eat healthy diets, producing food sustainably and protecting national food security, whilst also looking at related issues such as the price of food and trade.  Part One was published on 29 July 2020. It contained urgent recommendations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and preceding the end of the transition period with the European Union. The final report will be published in summer 2021. It will include a root and branch examination of the food system, the economics that shape it, and present a vision of the food system. It will contain a diagnosis and recommendations for actions to reorient the food system to be healthier for ourselves and the planet.The Government has committed to responding to the Review’s recommendations in the form of a White Paper within 6 months of the release of the final report. 

About FixOurFood
FixOurFood is a five-year research programme led by the University of York and is part of the 'Transforming the UK Food System for Healthy People and a Healthy Environment Strategic Priorities Fund Programme' which is delivered by UKRI. FixOurFood has a vision to transform food systems (FS) across the UK towards being 'regenerative'. This means real structural change in food systems so they are healthy, equitable and promote positive environmental benefits for all. We are working in schools and nurseries to transform food menus, environments, education and procurement and we are supporting the HAF programme to evaluate its benefits to young people and their families. FixOurFood is evidence based and we are committed to all young people having a voice in the future of the UK food system.

About thefoodpeople
At the heart of everything we do at thefoodpeople is shifting the future of food and drink to shape better futures for all. The TFP Foundation was set up to use food as a force for good by supporting those that champion the importance of food, health and education in children and young people. We are delighted to be partnering & supporting the HAF program, The Food Foundation and all the organisations and individuals who share our joint mission that food can be a force for good and together we can make an impact to improve the food, health and education of our future generations.

Department for Education
Government guidance for the Holiday Activities and Food programme (HAF) is available here.
HAF has operated as a pilot scheme since 2018. Last summer’s pilot, in 2020, supported around 50,000 children across 17 local authorities.
The Department for Education have provided all Local Authorities with an LA HAF Comms Toolkit, which provides assets to support their own local communications and to encourage HAF provision to parents and schools wherever possible. 
In August 2019, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson met with Ash Razzaq and the team at CATCH in Leeds for a tour of the facilities, including the café, games rooms, gym and community garden. The Education Secretary spoke to a number of the volunteers and children at the centre, including helping out with health holiday activities, and then spoke to representatives of the charity, the community foundation, local schools and the LA to discuss the programme and its benefits.
 For a quick explainer on what the HAF programme is, and how it can help you, please see the Department for Education’s blog post here. 

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