Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

Hundreds of children take part in free Easter holiday activities

Friday, 29 April 2022

Hundreds of children across Central Bedfordshire took part in fun, free activities during the Easter Holidays as a result of our Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme.

We worked with providers including ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Creative Buzz, Bedford Blues Foundation and Woburn Safari Park, funding activities over the holidays for children eligible for free school meals.

On offer were activities ranging from holiday clubs, sports clubs, arts and crafts activities as well as days out at Mead Open Farm, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo and Woburn Safari Park. All the activities offered by the HAF programme are inclusive, so suitable for children with special educational needs and disability (SEND).

Children who attended activities were provided with snacks throughout the day, and a healthy lunch.

As well as continuing to work with organisations who have supported the HAF programme previously, a number of new providers signed up to host Easter activities, including Beecroft Academy in Dunstable whose holiday club was fully booked each day and Premier Education who ran a club at Henlow Academy.

One parent said:

We really appreciate the opportunity [for our daughter] to attend the holiday club as we couldn’t afford to send her ourselves. She has enjoyed it so much and we have had a much calmer and happier school holiday as a result.

Councillor Sue Clark, our Executive Member for Families, Education and Children, said:

Over 1,300 children were registered for activities this Easter, and judging by the feedback they had a fantastic time. It’s a pleasure to read feedback from parents and see some of the photos of what the children and young people have been doing.

The HAF programme is really valued by our communities, and we’re so grateful to all the organisations who continue to work with us to make this happen during school holidays. Not only are these activities great fun for children, but I hope the free activities and the provision of snacks and lunch helps take some pressure off families.

There is a lot of work behind the scenes to make the HAF programme happen, and we’re extremely pleased that the Department for Education has allocated funding for the programme to continue. We’re now getting ready to plan activities for the summer holidays.

We also issued more than 7,000 supermarket vouchers, each worth £30, to help families with food costs during the Easter holidays. The vouchers are funded by the Household Support Fund, which was introduced by the Department for Work and Pensions in November 2021.