Year of success for IOW holiday activities and food programme

Thousands of children and young people across the Island have enjoyed fun activities including sailing, horse-riding and skateboarding, thanks to the council's holiday activities and food programme (HAF)

Jun 5 2023

six children heads together in a circle looking down
The HAF Annual Report reflects on a busy 12 months.

Last year, the programme saw 1,375 youngsters eligible for benefit-related free school meals attend free activities over the Easter period, 1,414 during the summer and 897 over the Christmas school holidays.

In total, more than 30 schemes were run in partnership with 13 local clubs and organisations, with almost9,000 free healthy meals provided.

Funded by the Department for Education and delivered by the council, the HAF provides practical support to vulnerable school-age children and their families during the school holidays in a fun and positive way.

Local organisations supported activities such as skateboarding, climbing and drumming. Supermarkets and local businesses have donated food to HAF schemes, which was then shared between the families to take home.

The HAF annual report puts some of our best providers in the spotlight such as West Wight Nursery, an 'outstanding' early years provider, as rated by Ofsted, in Totland.

One advantage of being in a rural location is having easy access to the great outdoors. Indeed, the nursery has a wonderful field — on which they keep chickens and tend allotments and green-houses — as well as a small area of woodland which is just perfect for forest school activities and summer picnics.

Kim Tyrell, from the nursery, explained: "The children embrace collecting eggs, growing their own food, and cooking it. That changes the game for them — they absolutely love putting together and being in charge of their choices."

HAF providers are required to provide information, signposting or referrals to other services and support that would benefit the children and families who access their provision.

Councillor Debbie Andre, Cabinet member for children's services, added: "I am proud of all of our providers. Thank you for all the work you've done and continue to deliver for the holiday activities and food programme here on the Isle of Wight."

Read the HAF Annual Report 2022-23 in full on this site or on the Isle of Wight Family Information Hub website.