CHILDREN and young people in Leicester who receive benefits-related free school meals are being invited to sign up for a free programme of summer activities before the deadline on Wednesday 28 June.
Starting on Monday 17 July, the sessions will include activities such as art, sport, outdoor fun and music – and each child taking part will receive a healthy meal as part of the session.
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 this summer.
In Leicester, the activities – suitable for children aged from 4 to 16 – 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.
Deputy city mayor Cllr Sarah Russell said: “This year, the government allocated £1.6m to Leicester to provide food and activities for children on free school meals during the Easter, summer and Christmas holidays.
“The long summer holiday is a difficult time for many families, and for those on low incomes who are already struggling with the cost of living crisis, this year will be even more difficult.
“This scheme aims to ensure that every child in Leicester can have some fun in the summer break, and a meal while they’re taking part, without having to worry about the cost.
“There’s a wide range of activities on offer at sites around the city, but places are limited so please register as soon as you can – and certainly before the deadline on Wednesday 28 June – if you’d like your child to take part in the programme.”
Information about the Holiday Activities & Food programme – which runs over a six-week period – has been circulated to children via schools.
Eligible families can sign up to four programmes in total. Most programmes run for four hours each day for four days, although some providers are offering flexible programmes that run for more hours over fewer days, or fewer hours over more days.
Families with children who receive benefits-related free schools and who live in Leicester, or who live outside the city but attend a city school, can register for a place on the Holiday Activities & Food programme at families.leicester.gov.uk/haf
Anyone who thinks their child should be receiving free school meals can find out more at freeschoolmeals.leicester.gov.uk