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Policy briefing

Evaluation of the Holiday Activities and Food Programme

This year, the Department for Education’s Holiday Activities and Food Programme was expanded across England. Given this is the first year of the expanded scheme, we have worked with researchers to undertake an evaluation of the implementation and impact of the scheme focussed on delivery in the summer holidays of 2021 across Yorkshire. This report summarises the preliminary findings and key recommendations.

Who created this report?

Researchers at the University of York undertook an evaluation of HAF this summer in 4 Yorkshire local authority areas (York, North Lincolnshire, Bradford and Sheffield). This is part of the 5-year FixOurFood research programme, with which The Food Foundation is a key partner. 


“I was dreading the 6 weeks because it would have been another 6 weeks of them being at home doing nothing so having the opportunity for them to come here and to learn and keep them socialising because they have missed quite a lot of that over the last year and a half.”


Key Recommendations

1. Government should commit to long-term funding of HAF to enable local authorities to plan and build on this year’s learnings. Ongoing evaluation will ensure the scheme is fit for purpose.

2. Places on the programme should be available to all children, not just those with Free School Meal status to reduce stigma and to allow a wider group of children to benefit. A model of free and paid for places should be provided by local authorities, tailored to the local need.

3. The continued provision of tasty and varied meals should remain an important part of the HAF programme.

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