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

Children playing outdoors

CHILDREN and young people in Leicester who receive benefits-related free school meals are being invited to sign up for a programme of free summer activities before the deadline on Sunday 30 June.

Starting on Monday 15 July, the sessions will include activities such as art, sport and outdoor fun – and each child taking part will receive a healthy meal as part of the session.

Funding for the scheme has come from the Holiday Activities and Food programme (HAF), which aims to help children from low-income families keep active and eat well during the summer break.

In Leicester, the activities – suitable for children aged from 4 to 16 – are being organised by more than 40 providers at sites around the city.

Places, however, are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis to those who live in the city of Leicester, receive benefits-related free school meals, and are in the age range for that programme.

“The long summer holiday can be a struggle for some families,” said Amy Smith, head of service at Leicester City Council.

“This scheme aims to ensure that children who normally have a free school meal can have some fun in the summer break, and a healthy 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 Sunday 30 June – if you’d like your child to take part in the programme.”

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

Eligible families can sign up to four weeks of free provision over the summer holiday. 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 meet the eligibility criteria 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

Children who don’t receive benefits-related free school meals may also be able to register on the programme, in exchange for a fee. Families should contact the activity provider directly for more information.