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

Published on Monday, November 27, 2023

2 minute read

Children playing football

CHILDREN and young people in Leicester who receive benefits-related free school meals are being reminded to sign up for a free programme of activities before the deadline on Tuesday 5 December.

Starting on Saturday 23 December, 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.

Most provision will run for four days, but children on programmes offering fewer than four days of activities will be given a food hamper to take home with them.

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

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.

“Christmas is an expensive time for families, and for those on low incomes who are already struggling with day-to-day costs, this year will be even more difficult.

“This scheme aims to ensure that every child in Leicester can have some fun in the Christmas 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 Tuesday 5 December – if you’d like your child to take part in the programme.”

Information about the Holiday Activities & Food programme – which runs over a two-week period – has been circulated to eligible children via their schools.

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

Anyone who thinks their child should be receiving free school meals can find out more at