‘Holistic HAF’ at Park Community School

Park Community School's Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme aims to provide a holistic support system for families facing various challenges, including financial constraints, disabilities, and limited access to resources. The programme focuses on delivering enriching experiences, nutritious meals, and essential support services

Dec 4 2023

The success of the programme is clear through the numerous compliments received from participating families. Testimonials included expressions of gratitude such as: "my child would have had nothing if it hadn't been for this," and "thank you so much for providing regular meals." The impact extended beyond immediate needs, with reports of transformed confidence in children and families experiencing activities they could not otherwise afford.

A total of 62 compliments were documented over Summer 2023, emphasising the positive influence of the programme on the community. Families appreciated the 
diversity of activities, from outdoor swimming to sailing, and the provision of regular meals. The programme not only addressed immediate needs but also contributed to creating lasting memories for families.

  • Key success factors included:
    Strategic partnerships: Park Community School successfully engaged with external stakeholders, including host and bordering Councils, Stop Domestic Abuse, and various health and community organisations. These partnerships enabled a more comprehensive support system for families.
    Diverse offerings: The scheme offered a wide range of activities, from sports to cooking sessions, ensuring inclusivity and engagement for families with different interests and needs.
    Innovative funding: Beyond the initial award, the programme secured more funding from various sources, including the Munch Community Food Programme, Royal Society of Chemistry, and Music For All. This diverse funding approach allowed for the expansion of offerings and support services.
    Publication of activities booklet: The creation and distribution of an 80-page booklet with daily activities, recipes, and tips not only enriched the families' experiences during the program but also served as a valuable resource for year-round engagement.
  • Challenges and future recommendations included:
    Identifying hidden needs: The programme found a higher percentage of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) than initially reported by parents. Park Community School HAF aims to improve communication with parents to better understand the diverse needs of participating children.
    Budget constraints for teen outreach: The teens expressed interest in expensive outreach trips. A suggestion for the future is to explore bulk-buying discounted places to make these activities more accessible within the budget.
    Year-round engagement: Recognising the need for continuous support, Park Community School envisions employing a full-time community neighbourhood worker to engage with the community year-round, linking families to various resources and support services.
    Community engagement: The program actively engaged with local and national organisations, supermarkets, and sports and leisure providers. Partnerships with Tesco, Co-Op, FareShare, UKHarvest, and others played a crucial role in supplying resources, cooking equipment, and additional support to families.

Park Community School's HAF scheme has proved a successful model for addressing the diverse needs of families during school holidays. The testimonials, strategic partnerships, and innovative funding approaches highlight the programme's positive impact on the community. With a commitment to addressing challenges and 
exploring year-round engagement, the school aims to create a sustained support system for families in need