Free activities and food for children this half-term

Free holiday activities to help children catch up on learning are available for eligible children this half-term (February 21-27).

West Sussex County Council is funding places at holiday clubs to offer children activities that support them with the subjects they learn at school.

Places are available at participating holiday clubs for the following groups of children aged 4 to 16:

• Children who are eligible for free school meals, or have been eligible in the past 6 years
• Children who are currently in care
• Children who have been adopted from care or have left care

A calendar of the clubs with free places is available at www.westsussex.gov.uk/haf and families should book directly with the clubs. Places are limited and some clubs are providing free meals.

These February half-term activities are being funded directly by the council to support families affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. It follows the success of the Holiday Activity & Food (HAF) programme over the summer and Christmas school holidays.

Activities for all the family

In addition to the holiday clubs, free online Maths and English live lessons are available for all children over the half term with the Invicta academy. This includes daily Taekwondo classes to get children ready for learning. Sign up at: https://www.invictaacademy.com/westsussexhalfterm

And there is always lots going on at family-friendly local libraries, which are always free to visit. You will find books and activities for all ages to enjoy, staff are happy to advise about local groups and support available, and half-term events are taking place at some libraries which are free but need to be booked. Visit your local library to find out more.

Nigel Jupp, Cabinet Member for Learning and Skills, said: “Over the summer and Christmas holidays around 2,700 children took part in our Holiday Activity and Food programme. Once again lots of sports clubs and groups will be taking part to offer an exciting range of activities and fun, and with plenty going on in our libraries as well, there is lots to keep children entertained this half-term.”

Free school meal vouchers

The County Council is again supporting every child who receives free school meals (benefits-related) with supermarket vouchers for the half-term week. A £20 per child voucher has been distributed to around 15,000 children through schools. The voucher scheme is being funded through the Government’s Household Support Fund.

Support available

The half-term is a great time for children to take a breather and have some fun. However, some may be feeling isolated from their friends, be under exam pressure or feeling low. Now could be a good time to check in with a child or young person about how they’re feeling. Our Your Mind Matters website offers information, guidance and links to resources and organisations that can help you support your child’s mental health.

Families and individuals who are in need of support can find information about the help that is available to them on our website. This includes information about support for children and families who are not eligible for free school meals.

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