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.
Online applications are now open for those eligible to take part in the government-funded Holiday Activities & Food programme (HAF) – but families must make sure they register by Sunday 12 March.
Starting on Monday 3 April and continuing until Friday 14 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, and each eligible child can register for one free programme during the Easter break.
In Leicester, the activities – suitable for young people aged from 4 to 16 in full-time education – are being organised by around 45 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 Sunday 12 March, but places should be booked as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
Deputy city mayor Cllr Sarah Russell said: “The cost of living crisis means that families who were already struggling are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet, so schemes like this are even more important.
“These sessions will make sure that children who normally have a free school meal will have something good to eat, while doing something they enjoy, during the Easter break.
“If your child is eligible for the Holiday Activities & Food programme, I would urge you to register as soon as possible to make sure you get a place on the session that you want.”
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 families.leicester.gov.uk/haf
Government funding for the HAF programme – which provides free food and activities to low-income families during the Easter, summer and Christmas school holidays – is in place until 2024.
In Leicester, more than 15,000 children and young people are eligible for free school meals. Anyone who thinks their child should be receiving free school meals can apply online.