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Sign up now for holiday scheme for children on free school meals

holiday activities

CHILDREN and young people in Leicester who receive benefit-related free school meals are being invited to sign up now for a free programme of activities over the Easter holidays.

Starting on Monday 11 April, the sessions will include activities such as art, sport, outdoor adventure and music – and each child taking part will receive a healthy meal as part of the session.

Most provision will run for four days, offering a total of 16 hours of free activities.

Funding for the scheme has come from the government’s Holiday Activities and Food programme (HAF), which wants to help children from low-income families be active and eat well over the Easter break.

In Leicester, the activities – suitable for children aged from 4 to 16 in full-time education – are being organised by around 40 providers at sites around the city.

Places, however, are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis to eligible families. Booking closes on Thursday 24 March, but places should be booked as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Deputy city mayor Cllr Sarah Russell said: “I am delighted we are able to run holiday activity and food programmes this Easter.

“We have been running schemes for over five years and are glad the government is supporting these in the main school holidays from this year.

“The cost of living crisis means that families who were already struggling are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet.

"This programme means thousands of children will be able to access great activities and have their meal costs covered, as they are during term time."

Information about the Holiday Activities & Food programme has been circulated to eligible families via schools.

Families with children on benefit-related free school meals can register for a place on the Holiday Activities & Food programme at

Around 15,000 children and young people are eligible for free school meals in Leicester.

Anyone who thinks their child should be receiving free school meals can apply online. Search for ‘free school meals’ at

The Easter holiday activities and food programme runs from 11-22 April. Last year, the government announced that funding for the HAF programme would continue until 2024.